25 December, 2013

Book Review: Emma

From Goodreads: 'I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.'

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.

Thoughts: Finished! Two Austen's in one year - how good am I!

As always, to help with a classic, I also watched various versions - the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, The Emma inspired movie Clueless, The BBC 1970's version (very dry and very English!) and a later BBC version. Going a bit overboard?? Maybe...

I enjoyed the book, although like most writers of her time, Austen could get a bit verbose. Seriously, if one sentence takes up half a page, it might be time to review it! What I find really interesting is how judgmental the characters could be. The women would be described as plain, or pretty enough, but no great beauty, their intelligence judged and questioned. We talk about how bitchy women are today - I think they may have had their beginnings in Austen's time! To be fair, the men were also subject to such scrutiny. I did find Emma to be a pretentious cow at times, lucky to have any friends at all. Austen obviously was a great believer in the class system - everyone had their place and please stay there! However, I enjoy her books and will continue my quest to read all of her works.

Challenges: Ebook Challenge