How Jane Austen Saved My Life (Maddie Hoaglund)

It is a truth widely acknowledged that I am not an especially social person. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t truly realize this fact until last summer.

Since I had but two years before striking out on my own, they shipped me off to an overnight running camp. At this camp, I would be forced to socialize with others for seven whole days with no viable means of escape. Fortunately for me, I managed to convince my parents that this experiment would be more likely to succeed, if I brought a worthy companion. My wonderful friend Ms. M___ shared my love of avoiding humans, and soon we were both on our way to Sewanee, Tennessee.

Upon our arrival, I noticed that this college was isolated, set in the midst of an impenetrable mountainous wilderness. Unfortunately, this would not be the last time that week I suspected the camp was a prison. Finally, the moment had come to begin this long week. Instead of socializing the other campers, Ms. M___ and I hurried up to our room and shut the door.

While trapped in our small cell, I noticed that a book had been stowed in my luggage. This was none other than the notorious summer reading novel Pride and Prejudice. Slowly lifting the book, I realized that these hundreds of pages, so dreaded back in May, would now be my salvation.

Since I had already completed the novel, I suggested to Ms. M___ that perhaps we should read aloud so that she might finish. Readily, she consented. Instead of socializing with fellow campers, we spoke only with that witty heroine, Elizabeth Bennett.

Between each meal and between each run, the characters leapt off the page and consumed our every thought. Paragraph by paragraph, an intricate romance unfolded before us. Regrettably, all good things must end and ours only lasted four days. That’s right–we read the entire novel in four days. But that left one problem. There were three days of camp left! We nearly despaired, thinking with trepidation that we might be forced to leave our cozy cell and venture into the fearsome social world fo the other campers.

Lucky for us, we discovered the six-hour BBC version of the movie!

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