I recently finished yet another Jane Austen fan fiction entry: “Lost in Austen.” This is not to be confused with the witty series of the same title that featured a modern girl smitten with Darcy, who through wishful thinking, ends up trading places with Lizzie Bennett. I think Lizzie got the better deal, actually. I would rather reach for Advil than a leech any day when it comes to ridding a fever.Not familiar with choose your own adventure books? Weren’t you one of those 8-10 year olds who dove in those simple, yet exciting stories that allowed you to make a choice of your plotted path? I believe they are the only example I know of where the “you” second person point-of-view is actually used in writing. They take a bit of effort since the reader must make a decision which direction the story will go. “You come to two doors. If you choose the right one, turn to page 37. If you choose left, then proceed to page 18.” The reader either experiences a nasty turn of events, like being eaten by a hungry lion or can be rewarded, as in by being discovered to be a long lost son of the neighborhood millionaire and receiving an unexpected inheritance. A person could die and live several lifestyles over the course of a reading. I think the short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” is the foundational beginnings of these books.
As for Lost in Austen–mash up all of Jane’s books with the choose your adventure theme and you spend a day pursuing Darcy or ending up as the heroine in one of the other Austen tales of matrimony quest. Without giving away spoilers I will say this: be wary of that Caroline Bingley, especially when walking the grounds of Pemberley.
I applaud the creativity involved in the project, yet I needed at least three bookmarks while reading. One for the Darcy plotline, one for when I had to make my decision, and one for when I died (more than once) and had to go back to my decision point because I would then have to go find chocolate to soothe my disappointment before returning to where I made the wrong choice to begin once again.
I’m wondering–What other classics could become a Choose Your Own Adventure?
How about Alice? “You decide drinking tea with a table of lunatics is unwise, you stay on the path.”
Then there is Robison Crusoe. “You decide one footprint is one too many and immediately build a raft and take your chances upon the oceans towards home.”
Maybe Scrooge? “You feel uncharacteristically generous and contribute to the various charities. After a good night’s sleep you decide to provide stock options to your employees. You live a much happier life, although prove so wonderful you become boring in your philanthropist ways that you are passed over for a Dickens protagonist.
Whst classic adventure would you choose? What if Wendy shut the window after all and Peter found a willing Priscilla or Hortense to sew for the boys?