Thursday, 1 December 2016

Classic Spin #14 - review

Believe it or not, but for once I managed to finalise the book for the Classic Club spin, in due time as well. My number one was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It has lived a quiet life on my TBR shelves for quite a few years. I love Austen, so there is really no excuse why I have shunned this one. Or is there? I always thought that it was considered one of her best books, without knowing exactly why. After having read it, it will end up as the one I like the least. I thought it was a really boring book, or as Shakespeare put it: "Much ado about nothing!"


The heroine was not very likeable, that is Marianne. Elinor, her sister was much more in my taste. In short, Mrs Dashwood becomes a widow, without much money to help her take care of the family. The brother is a total *%()" (you know what I mean), under influence of his terrible wife, and, although he has the means to support them he convinces himself that he has no obligation!?!? Mrs Dashwood is offered a cottage from a friend of theirs, pack up her things, takes her three daughters and moves to Devonshire. There they have a pleasant family life with friends and neighbours, until charming and dashing John Willoughby happens to pass by and enter the life of Marianne. Cupid was there very fast, obviously without thinking too much about it, and Marianne is lost in translation. However, before Mr Willoughby has to leave the area, he and Marianne are engaged.

lPenguin ClassicsNext we see the family with their friends in London.  Marianne is waiting for Willoughby to turn up. She writes him letters, but to no avail. He does visit them once, but at a time when they are out. Next we know Mr Willoughby is to be married to a heiress, throwing our dear Marianne into the depths of despair. In the meantime Elinor is in love with Edward Ferrars, her sister-in-law's brother. They met while Elinor and her mother and sisters stayed with her brother and sister-in-law. They both seem to care for each other, but not all men are as forward as Mr Willoughby, so nothing is really said. Elinor is a more sensible person than her sister, see the facts of life, and although unhappy, still manages to live her life.

Well, for those of you who will read the book I will not reveal the ending. Only that it took a very long time, a lot of turns left and right, back and forth before everything was settled. Not exactly as you might expect, so there is  a little bit of a surprise in the end. However much I love Austen and her way of writing, which is also excellent here, it is just tooooooo many words this time. To much lingering on details which might not be so important. I am thinking that half the book, or at least one third, could have been cut out. Still, if you are an Austen fan you just have to read it. N'est pas?

I must admit that I read it as an e-book, although starting out in the paper book. But the text was so small, it was impossible for me to read it. There is one reason why the e-readers are good sometimes!

In the meantime, I have read Northanger Abbey for the Brontë Reading Group, and we will discuss it next week. I really liked that novel and it will come up on a stable second best after Pride and Prejudice. Is there anything that can beat that one? I don't think so, but I still have Mansfield Park to read. On third place so far is Persuasion, which I also like. Which is your favourite Jane Austen?



5 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. Emma has so far been my nemesis and I still have Persuasion to go. I'm with you for the top spot though: Pride and Prejudice is definitely my favourite!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with you. I totally forgot Emma, probably because I could not stand her. However, she improved in the latter half of the book, so I could slightly enjoy it. But I think even Emma ends up before Sense and Sensibility! Persuasion is a lovely book, I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always vacillate between Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion as my favorites. My least favorite is probably EMMA probably just because the book seems endless. When I read and reviewed Sense and Sensibility I broke it down into 50 page units and compared the book to the movies. That way I could find those points which were new to me, or not covered in the movies. It kept the interest going. I remember liking the book fine. I think it was one of Austen's earlier books so maybe she improved with age. My Classics Psin book was Little women

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favourites too. Emma just made me irritated on the heroine.
      Interesting to break it down and compare with the movie. I guess there are quite a lot that is not in a 1,5 - 2 hrs movie, so that is an interesting angle. I would like to see the movie, but did not want to see it before I had finished the book. Mainly, not to know the ending.
      I have never read "Little Women", but gather it is one of the great American classics.
      This spin is a good way to read the classics.

      Delete
  4. S&S improves with a reread & the Emma Thompson movie is tremendous.

    Persuasion is my favourite Austen and a recent-ish reread of Mansfield Park, pushed it up from last spot to one of my favourites. You just never know with JA 😊

    ReplyDelete