Emma by Jane Austin

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Rate: 4.5/5


Medium: AudioBook


Overview (No Spoilers): Back in high school when I went through my initial classical literature phase I cannot believe I managed to avoid reading Emma. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books, as such I’m not sure why I was so averse to picking up another one of Austen’s classics. Maybe there was an Emma that was quite a bully in my childhood I can’t seem to recall? Regardless, I have finally picked up Emma and am enthralled. After only a few scenes into this classic I had a strange sense of deja vu involving the movie Clueless, and upon looking up the aforementioned 90s flick I was surprised to find out that the comedy was indeed based on Emma. Unfortunately, this revelation made the rest of the book predictable, however did not deter from my enjoyment of this drama filled storyline. Several times I found myself literally laughing out loud in response to one of Emma’s clever retorts or physically cringing listing to one of Miss Bates’ run on dialogues. Overall, filled with witty banter and coy flirting, Emma is a delightfully fun, lighthearted read that should be on everyone’s must read list.


Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Poor Harriet Smith. By Emma taking her under her aristocratic, though well meaning wing she had to endure several heart aches before she ended up right where she would have sans Emma. I was rather frustrated with Emma with regard for her treatment of Harriet after it came to light that the latter was infatuated with Mr. Knightly.
  • Oh Mr. Knightly, melt my modern heart. I absolutely loved his scenes with Emma, even before they finally confessed their hearts’ desires. !
  • Mrs. Elton was just the absolute worst. I could hardly handle her meddling in Jane Fairfax’s affairs, even though poor Jane was absolutely and adamantly against finding any immediate employment.
  • I was a bit caught off guard by Frank and Jane being secretly engaged. I guessed the piano had come from Frank after he rushed out for a rather suspicious ‘hair cut’ in London, however I didn’t see the extent of their affections until it was officially announced to the community.
  • There are several very tedious, trying, frankly annoying character filled in Emma’s pages, e.g., Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Bates, Mrs. Elton. Initially, their tiresome monologues were a trial for the readers, nonetheless by the end I would listen affectionately to Miss Bates lengthy word vomits and Mr. Woodhouse’s constant worrying. Alas, there was no warmth geared toward Mrs. Elton, other than the knowledge that all of her selfish scheming was for naught.

 

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21 comments

  1. That edition is fantastic! I really loved this book, I read it in july and fell in love with everything! This and P&P are my current Austen favorites, but I still have two to read!
    Miss Bates was exhausting indeed, and Knightley&Emma interactions were simply perfection! And I had the same thoughts you did about the whole Frank dilemma, I’ve previously watched the BBC miniseries (which I recommend you watch ASAP), so I was ready for it, but even in the movie format you cannot tell… that was somehow intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved reading Emma! I first read it in high school, but it wasn’t my first Austen – and I think that’s important. I think in order to really appreciate it, you need to be a little familiar with her sense of humour. So many people hate this book because Emma is an unlikable character…which is the whole point of her character arc!
    I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A couple of years ago I finally discovered how brilliant a writer Austen was. Both Pride & Prejudice and Emma are now favourites of mine. Beautifully written, witty and emotionally moving, and how well could she write characters?! I recommend Mansfield Park for more social satire and Northanger Abbey for its funny digs at the Gothic novels popular at the time.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really do agree with you on Austen’s ability to create characters. The consistency in each character within the frames of each of her novels is such that it becomes hard to believe they are not real. This blended by the descriptions attributed to each character both in the narrative as well the dialogues they engage in make it seem as though the characters are sitting right across from you while you read. Whereas most literatures require us to suspend our disbelief to some level as we engage in the worlds they create, even amongst classics like those of Shakespeare’s or Bronte’s, Austen’s worlds continue to remain true to our society even two centuries later. At least, that’s how I feel each and every time I re-indulge in her stylings. Just salivating for another read of my copies :))

      Liked by 2 people

      • I absolutely agree! I enjoyed the fact that many of the social aspects of Emma and relationships could be made relevant today. Hence, Clueless. I wonder what Austen would think of her works now knowing how socially accurate they still are?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Somehow even I haven’t yet got around to this one! I shall now, after your encouraging review 🙂 I’ve read all her other works, except Mansfield Park and I think Pride & Prejudice is my favourite (so far), even though I had to actually study it in school 🙂

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  5. Confession: I have read Emma nine times. By now, I feel like I’m going to a family reunion when I pick it up! And no family reunion would be complete without some irritating characters (Mrs. Elton is the worst!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With regards to the Additional Insights:
    I get why you felt so sorry for Harriet. The first time I read Emma, I was hell-annoyed by Emma and just as sorry for Harriet. But when it comes to Emma, I think she needs more than one reading to gain our sympathy. Really after a second read, one may find her flaws almost endearing, just a prancing woman-child on the cusp of young adult and new adult.
    When I read the novel a second time, I saw things quite differently as this time I read it more for reflection, unlike the first time when I just too hooked on the mystery and entertainment of the story. The obvious take from my second reading was the plot significance of the ordeal Emma puts Harriet through – it was a necessary means to the character arcs of both the injurer and the victim. Emma needed Harriet to realize that it was she who is meant to be with Mr. Knightly. And if it weren’t for Emma’s meddling, Harriet may now be sure of the strength of the emotions that bind her to Mr. Martin – you know, now that they have weathered the storm called Emma :p
    I still find Emma one of the most aggravating heroines of Austen’s novels (or any of the 18 century classics, really). I guess that’s why Heckerling picked Alicia Sylverstone to play Cher without even an audition – too adorable to hate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with you. I wasn’t faulting Emma completely because just like the other characters she had her flaws. I also think that it highlighted a key aspect of the time period that Emma was of a higher ‘class’ then Harriet, which isn’t as relevant now. As long as we keep that in perspective it puts Emma’s attitudes and decisions into context.

      Liked by 1 person

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