So for the Austentatious book club, December’s book of the month was Mansfield Park. I was considering skipping this month’s book, as at the start of the month I was feeling a bit slumpish when thinking of classics, but I decided to push ahead and read it alongside the audiobook version I found on Youtube.
Let’s talk about Mansfield Park!
Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Series Status: Standalone
Number of Pages: Approx 507 (with notes etc)
(Found on Goodreads)
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighborhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.
So I’ve seen that quite a few people dislike this book, or were at least disappointed when comparing it to Austen’s others books. But I actually quite liked it.
Though it’s not a favourite, I really liked this one just because it was quite different from Jane Austen’s other books (that I’ve read anyway – at this point I only have Sense and Sensibility left to read, which I’ll be doing in January).
First of all, the story starts off with a family already being comfortable. While her other books feature the main character growing up and finding a marriage of her own, this one shows a family adopting their niece in order to save her from a rough childhood of poverty (compared to them, at least). And though it does end up following the niece as she grows up, it was nice to see that family aspect already secured beforehand.
Now, this one has a HUGE element of social class in it. There’s a divide between families based on their income, and though it’s hard to read about people being shunned just because of misfortune, it was also kind of interesting to read. To see how quickly people can lose or gain a higher status, how quickly they could be cast out of their previous society.
And with that, I found it fascinating to compare those times to know. Because while we’ve come a long way, society still shines upon the rich more than the poor. There’s still very much that divide. Even in regards to education. The more educated you are, the better off you generally are. Granted, we don’t completely isolate and cast out those who don’t have much money or education as others, but still. The similarities are there.
Anyway, besides my love for history turning me into an analytical nerd of class divisions, I liked this book for more reasons than that of course.
First of all, the characters felt so real. Maybe it’s because of the length most classics go to when describing a character and their manners, but it didn’t take much to imagine them as real people. I especially loved the main character, Miss Price. She was so gentle, caring, quiet, and always wanting to do the right thing. I couldn’t help but root for her all the way through, hoping she’d have a happy ending. Especially when it came to relationships. Because let’s be real, is there ever NOT a relationship/marriage in these type of classics?
Says the girl who hasn’t actually read that many classics, so yes, there probably is.
On the note of relationships, all I’m going to say is CALLED IT.
As always, the ending felt a little rushed. Jane Austen has this way of trudging through the entire book, only to have the last few pages or chapter summarise what happened to all the characters. So while it does feel a little rushed, it doesn’t bother me too much because I’ve come to expect it now. Plus it’s quite a nice rounded way of ending the book.
Though it’s not my favourite, it’s definitely nice to see some of the changes in comparison to Austen’s other works, and thoroughly enjoyable – if a little slow going (though that may just be me).
Rated 3.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Who was your favourite character?
If you haven’t read this book, is it on your TBR?
Maybe you’ve read one of Jane Austen’s other books?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!