James Austen is definitely a character I could have followed for a few hundred pages. Ordered by his Janeite mother to spend his summer constructively, he accidentally signs up for an English country dance seminar. His interest in Jane Austen explodes and instead of spending the summer months conforming to one of the dominant cliches at school, each determined to be real-life incarnations of their favorite monsters, he transforms himself into the modern parody of Mr. Darcy. When the story begins, James' parents have been called into the principals office, for such unaccountabel behavior as their son has displayed requires explanation:
"For example - the way he's been coming to school. His attire," Mr. Oakes said.
"His attire?" Mom could go the full Lady Catherine de Bourgh in three syllables flat.
Taptaptaptaptap. "I know we don't have a dress code - per se - but don't you think the way he's dressing - every day a button-down shirt, slacks. A, um, yie?"
And Mom goes, "In the hall, I saw two kids with their incisors capped with fangs, a half dozen girls with Kabuki makeup and black lipstick, and someone of indeterminate gender who was sporting a tail."...
M. Oakes sighed. "And it's his language."
"It's not just the 'please' and 'thank you' and "i beg your pardon' and -"
"That too. Not just what he says, Mrs. Austen, it's the way he says it. His teachers tell me when he's called on, he stands up. He holds doors open for them. He's gotten extremely..."
"'Well behaved, polite, and unassuming?'"
This story is a Janeites daydream of the perfect teenage son, rebelling by taking to heart the lessons of Austen, making others feel good by following the dictates of polite society, and finding success with the ladies by being the perfect gentleman. It is by far one of the best modern-set, Austen-themed tales I have ever read. My prejudices against the authoresses are entire undone.