Publisher: Recorded Books (website), Puffin (website)
Publication Year: 1428122133(audio), 0142409359 (paperback)
ISBN: (audio), 2007 (paperback)
Audio Length: 6 discs (~7 hrs)
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Place(s) Traveled to: New York
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman was very highly recommended to my by Tiffany over at Letters, Words, Thoughts, Ideas, Stories. I was told that since I was such a Jane Austen fan then this book was a must read. I was in the market for a new audio book and my library had it in its network so I ordered it and popped the disc in the moment that I picked it up. This book is the story of Julia and her best friend (and neighbor) Ashleigh. Julia is a relatively down to earth teen while Ashleigh suffers from being an enthusiast. An enthusiast is a person who jumps into something so completely that it literally takes over their entire life….like the time when Ashleigh decided she was a knight and she wore armor and had Julia joust with her. At the start of the book Julia and Ashleigh are about to start high school and Julia is happy that Ashleigh’s latest enthusiasm seems to be dying out and she hopes that they can start a new year off on a good foot. That is until Ashleigh decides to read Julia’s favorite book, Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics). From the moment she does Ashleigh is determined to live life as a girl her age did in Regency England, complete with regency dress (or as close as she can get in the 21st century), speech and manners. She is also determined that Julia do the same and that together they search for their Mr Darcy’s and since boys in their high school won’t do, Ashleigh sets her sites on the exclusive all boys school, Forefield Academy that is on the outskirts of their town.
First off I must say that Enthuisasm is not a book to listen to in the car. Not because its bad or had a bad narrator, far from it. Jennifer Ikeda is one of the best narrators that I’ve heard….EVER. She has a great voice and dramatic presence and just really sucks you into the story. The story itself is also a wonderful one. The reason that it shouldn’t be listened to in the car is very simple. You could die because you were laughing so hard that tears come out of your eyes and you drive off the road. Now while I didn’t drive off the road there were times when my full attention wasn’t on the road and the cars in front of me. I was so engaged by the story that all else was blocked out. In order to preserve my life (and those around me) I resorted to listening to this book on my computer….all the while cursing and kicking myself because I didn’t get the print version. Ashleigh is such a fun character. I loved her antics…such as wearing period dress, learning how to waltz (among other dances), & breaking into the boys prep school. This book was a non-stop riot and I couldn’t wait until the end. I loved this book so much that the moment I finished the audio I rushed right out to buy the print version because I know this is one story that I will want to visit it time and time again! Thank you so much once again Tiffany for telling me about this amazing book.