Sarah Mesle in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

Ortberg-Cover-243x366You’re not supposed to say that. Being categorically angry with men is unattractive, and it isn’t (given the basic human decency of most men) really fair. What’s worse, being angry isn’t effective. If you’re in the midst of dealing with a sucky man situation, expressing anger about sexism or structural inequality is the surest way to get yourself and your point of view relegated to the “crazy angry lady” category where your tone will be labeled shrill and your opinions summarily dismissed.

This is the conundrum many women find themselves navigating: we regularly experience an anger we can only partially credit and only in certain contexts safely or successfully articulate. That anger needs to go somewhere. It needs different modes. It needs, often, satire.

Into this emotional context enters a new book: Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre. It’s a splendid and wry work of humor writing, but that is not its only merit. Comprised entirely of imagined text conversations with or between literary figures, Texts from Jane Eyre employs a clever conceit. But “the phones,” as Ortberg has said, “aren’t really the point.” Texts from Jane Eyre isn’t really another book in the mode of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies— a book I enjoy, but which stages the collision between high literature and mass culture as a joke for its own sake. Texts from Jane Eyre, by contrast, uses that collision to pointed satiric effect.

Read the rest here.