Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The romantic clash of two opinionated young people provides the sustaining theme of Jane Austen’s 1813 masterwork Pride and Prejudice. Spirited Elizabeth Bennet is one of a family of five daughters; with no male heir; the Bennet estate must someday pass to their priggish cousin Collins. Therefore, the girls must marry well–and the arrogant bachelor Mr. Darcy is Elizabeth’s elusive match. An entertaining portrait of matrimonial rites and rivalries, Pride and Prejudice is timeless in its hilarity and its honesty; readers will immediately understand why Austen herself called the book “my own darling child.” Margaret Drabble writes in her incisive introduction: “The elegance of this performance is almost beyond praise.”

I read Pride and Prejudice when I was in high school when we were tasked to do a report on “a book of literary merit.” My teacher, who to this day is one of the best teachers I ever had, always kidded me on reading escapism books and was excited for me to venture into something with history. I wasn’t incredibly impressed with it back then, or any classics for that matter, and didn’t understand what all the fuss about it was for. Since then, I have read several classics, most of which I have adored, and have fallen in love with Austen’s other works. I finally decided to give Pride and Prejudice a re-read as I felt more equipped to appreciate it. I am glad that I did. I liked it significantly more than I did on first read, and I understand its appeal. Elizabeth is a lovely heroine. She is strong, loyal, and confident, and you can’t help but love her. Mr. Darcy is attractive and becomes more so as he proves himself to be a worthy partner for Elizabeth. As always, I love Austen’s sarcastic view of society, and her petty, gossipy characters make me laugh. She writes such strong women, especially in a time where women were not allowed to be so, and I think that is what makes her work so timeless. Overall, Pride and Prejudice isn’t my favorite of Austen’s novels, but I definitely appreciate it so much more now and I can see why it is beloved by so many.

Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Classics Club Challenge: Persuasion by Jane Austen

31298657Summary: Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

I loved this book.  I am a converted Austen fan and I think Persuasion is one of my favorites.  Anne is such a great character.  She is sweet, smart, and reasonable, and she deals with her crazy family with grace.  Her family is hilariously vain and annoying and I couldn’t help but laugh with them.  Austen is unparalleled for me in her sarcastic observations about society, and this book showcases them greatly in its supporting characters.  Anne’s relationship with Captain Wentworth is slow-burning and I loved their interactions and the build-up of their romance.  The story was short and sweet but so fully fleshed out and I was deeply invested in the characters.  The more Austen I read, the more I can’t decide which is my favorite.  I think this one is up there.

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Book Reviews · The Classics Club

Emma by Jane Austen Review

6492390Goodreads Summary: Charming, willful Emma Woodehouse amuses herself by planning other people’s lives. When her interfering backfires, she learns a bitter lesson: well-intentioned busybodies are as resented as those motivated by ill will, and everyone should learn to respect the individuality of others.

My Thoughts: I have a new favorite classic.  I fell in love with Emma. It is for sure my favorite Austen to date, and I had no idea that I would love it as much as I did.  I have always been curious about this book because I love the movie Clueless so much, and the movie is based on the book.  I was not disappointed.  The plot was fun and engaging, the characters were all colorful, dimensional and different, and it had the perfect amount of shade that I live for from Jane Austen.  Emma Woodhouse quickly worked her way into my heart and became one of my favorite heroines of all time.  She is so stubborn, self-confident, pushy and meddling and I just loved her.  Her relationships with everyone were so well developed and it was fun to see how they played out.  There was a twist with every event that kept me on my toes and waiting to see how Emma would react.  I was a reluctant Austen fan, but I think I am finally getting used to her style and I get the hype.  I can’t wait to read the rest of her works because I am 100% a fan now.  I almost want to go back and re-read Pride and Prejudice and give it another shot.  Until now, my favorite classic, by far, has been Jane Eyre.  I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think Emma has surpassed Jane Eyre in my heart.

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