My Favorite “Texts from Jane Eyre” Excerpts

Brought to you by Mallory Ortberg—and also my mom, who bought me her book last month:


we were just wondering
when you might be thinking
of coming back to the war that we’re having

well A of all youre being condecending

what did I say?

it wasnt what you said it was HOW you said it
and B of all i quit war forever
that’s when i’m coming back
whenever i un-forever quit war, which is never, so never

what’s this about, buddy?

he took that girl i liked

who did

that guy
I can’t say his name
the guy with the long name and the sun helmet


yeah that guy
he took that girl I like

which girl?

what is this
name remembering day
the one who was always holding the wine
or like the orb or whatever
she was always carrying something

would it help if we got her back?

it would not help
and youre being condescending again
and im going home

what will you do if you go home?

i dunno
stuff grows out of the ground if you put stuff in it
so maybe ill do that


go home and put stuff in the ground and no one will take the girls i like
and i hope you all die in this stupid war

you don’t mean that

you don’t mean your face


leave me alone

Wuthering Heights

god i love you cathy

i love you too
i love you so much
it hurts how much i love you

i love you so much 
let’s break each other’s hearts

oh my god let’s
i love you so much i’m going to marry edgar

i love you so much i’m going to run away

i love you so much i’m going to make myself sick

good that’s so much love

i love you so much i’m going to get sick again
just out of spite
i’ll forget how to breathe

i’ll be your slave

i’ll pinch your heart and hand it back to you dead

i’ll lie down with my soul already in its grave

i’ll damn myself with your tears

i love you so much i’ll come back and marry your sister-in-law

god yes

and i’ll bankroll your brother’s alcoholism

i always hoped you would


i love you SO MUCH
i’m going to write your name all over my books and then
i’m going to have someone else’s baby and then DIE

cathy yes that’s perfect
i’m going to kidnap your daughter someday
and i won’t let your nephew learn how to read
because of how much i love you
and scream at your grave
and i’ll rent your room out
to some guy from London

oh my god thank you

Just in case you haven’t had your fill of snark, check out my own reviews of The Iliad and Wuthering Heights.

Happy reading!

Let’s make fun of Fifty Shades!

Back when Fifty Shades of Grey had its heyday, I heard enough about it to confirm my suspicion that it probably wasn’t worth my time.

I have no problem with romance and/or erotic novels in general. Like any genre fiction, it suffers rampant stereotyping: popular opinion (and your average book snob) maintains that romance/erotica is trashy, sexist, unrealistic, and so on. Undoubtedly some are, and others are not. Sure, there are conventions and tropes that appear on a regular basis (that’s why it’s called a genre), but as always, it’s unfair to generalize.

The rumor that stopped me from reading Fifty Shades of Grey was that it’s poorly written. Even my friends, family, and colleagues who tended to shy away from literary fiction admitted that Fifty Shades was poorly written—not your most persuasive recommendation as they come. If I’m going to buy and read erotica—or any kind of book, for that matter—I’d rather invest my time in something of quality.

Since then, I have come across many excerpts from E. L. James’s bestsellers proving all of them right. The writing isn’t just poor, but astoundingly, shockingly, hilariously, and distressingly so. Here’s a roundup of the best/worst examples:

“His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.”

“Double crap—me and my two left feet!”

“And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain—probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: He’s here to see you.

“The orange juice tastes divine. It’s thirst-quenching and refreshing.”

Or perhaps:

“I sit up and reach for the orange juice, drinking it down too quickly. It’s delicious, ice cold, and it makes my mouth a much better place.”

“I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto.”

“Now I know what all the fuss is about. Two orgasms… coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow.”

“Oh, the many faces of Christian Grey. Will I ever be able to understand this mercurial man?


Mocking Fifty Shades of Grey may be unoriginal, but somehow it never gets old.

Sources (with even more comically bad quotes and excerpts):