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Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin - Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is terribly frustrating to me, because if you look at her bibliography it seems that she was put on this earth specifically to write books for me to read and yet every time I read something she's written I feel a tiny bit let down.


I really did want to love this book, and I think that the project is wonderful. Unfortunately the execution of the project felt (to me) repetitive and a little self-congratulatory on Lepore's part. Jane never came alive to me -- instead she reminded me of an eighteenth-century Stella Dallas, with Benjamin Franklin playing the part of Stella's ungrateful daughter. Ultimately Lepore's emphasis on Franklin's neglect of his sister -- he didn't save her letters, he didn't mention her in his autobiography, etc., etc. -- felt tiresome and a bit unfair.


I admire the research that Lepore must have done to pull the story of Jane together, but I found the book itself disappointing.