Another one for the Austentatious Book Club!
I finished this just before the end of November, luckily. I don’t want to fall behind. Which is a very real struggle when I read classics so damn slowly. But I have my ways *insert mysterious eyebrow quirk*
Hint: Those ways are audiobooks. Shh don’t tell.
Let’s talk about Emma!
Sounds like we’re being mean, doesn’t it?
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Series Status: Standalone
Number of Pages: 474
(Found on Goodreads)
Emma Woodhouse believes herself to be an excellent matchmaker, though she herself does not plan on marrying. But as she meddles in the relationships of others, she causes confusion and misunderstandings throughout the village, and she just may be overlooking a true love of her own.
This is definitely a book you have to warm up to.
I don’t think I’ve seen anyone who actually likes Emma – as in the main character, not the overall book – right from the start. And it’s not surprising really. In the beginning, Emma is really arrogant and snobbish, only caring for appearances and believing she is of the highest society. Everyone should be blessed to be visited by her, right?
But that’s part of the reason why this book is a good one. Because the character development is there. And it’s so obvious how much Emma – and other characters – have changed since the start of the book, but while you’re going through it you hardly notice. Because it’s a story. The change happens gradually, they don’t just suddenly change personality. And it’s actually really nice to see.
Like a lot of classics, there’s a lot based around society, engagements, and appearances. It was actually a lot like modern day drama – you know, who likes who, which girl fancies which boy this time…but much more sophisticated. And instead of “fancying” someone, it’s undying love and engagements.
I love seeing how different it was back then. Everything just meant so much more. You give a vague insult and it would be taken to heart, whereas now insults are often used between friends. People wouldn’t have girlfriends/boyfriends, it was engagement or courtship. A single day would be full to the brim of visits to neighbours, walks around the local countryside, a hobby such as reading or painting. No hour was wasted. It all seems a bit…nicer? No. I’m under no illusions. I know this life was only for the well-off, and the majority of people would be struggling with money, their health, differences in social class, gender inequality etc etc. But I have to admit, I do love reading this sort of story.
It did take me a while to read. I decided to use an audiobook for the most part and read along to it, so that I’d take in what was happening easier. Somehow that helped. In hindsight, it was a better idea than I originally thought. There’s this one character – Miss Bates – who talks for England. There’d be entire pages full of her rambling, and I just know that if I was reading them entirely myself, it would’ve seemed daunting. I might have even sighed and rolled my eyes again every time I saw she was coming back into a scene. But with the audiobook doing a lot of the work for me – all the voices, the tempo of the ramble – it actually became funny to hear. Seriously, I found myself laughing to myself.
Speaking of reacting out loud, there were two characters I absolutely hated. Mrs Elton and Mr Woodhouse. Oh. Dear. Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever hated two characters as much as those two. Mrs Elton is just...ugh. There’s not even a way I can describe her, but you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read it. And Mr Woodhouse, he just worries way too much and only seems to care about people’s health. Doesn’t sound too bad, I know, but when you read a 400 page book of him just fretting over every situation, you can’t help but roll your eyes at him.
And surprisingly, this didn’t ruin the book, because it was written that way. There was enough frustration intertwined with the rest of the story for you to feel exactly as the characters would, having to deal with these people in their lives.
It was definitely an interesting one. With characters throughout that you can’t quite decide if you like or not, and the plot ever-changing, it was easy to get tangled in the story. While it might not be one of my favourites from Austen, I still did enjoy a lot.
Rated 3.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
What did you think of the characters?
If you haven’t read it, do you plan to?
Have you read any of Jane Austen’s other books?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!