Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

book cover Original Publication Date: 1811

Genre: women's fiction

Topics: romance, society, marriage, women

Review by heidenkind:

Is Tasha about to complain about a classic and beloved novel? Yes, probably.

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood--and that other sister no one cares about--are thrown out of their home after their father dies and must find some men to marry in order to gain access to their money. Unfortunately, they have no sense when it comes to men.

This was the first time I read Sense and Sensibility, and I think it will probably be the last. The novel certainly has its moments, but there's also a lot that bothers me about it, and in the end the bothers outweighed the enjoyment I got from it.

First of all, the title bothers me and has always bothered me. Sense and Sensibility? What does that mean? Also, most of these characters are the antithesis of sensible. Secondly, the story is kind of like Pride & Prejudice, only if Mr. Bennet died at the beginning, Jane married Mr. Collins, Elizabeth made an idiot of herself over Wickham, and Mr. Darcy didn't exist. Depressing!

Third of all, the heroine of the tale is Elinor Dashwood. At first she seemed sensible, but as the novel went on, I found it more and more difficult to sympathize with her, or even like her. I felt kind of bad about how much disliked her, actually, but she's extremely judgy and complacent. I guess more than anything I resented the fact that Jane Austen expected me to approve of her behavior and disapprove of Marianne's, when Marianne was a much more appealing character. The final chapters where Elinor and Edward are all judgy together and she pulls a Fanny Dashwood by convincing Edward that Lucy Steele is a horrible person who never loved him ("Ah, yes, you're right, she was a selfish trollop, why didn't I realize?") when she spent the entire novel pretending to be her friend sums up her entire character for me. UHG. He's already chosen to marry you, why don't you just let it go, beyotch?

Hugh Laurie as a hilarious Mr Palmer.

Basically the only characters I really liked in Sense and Sensibility were Colonel Brandon and the Palmers. Mr Palmer was hilarious. Col Brandon is also pretty awesome, and I loved how Marianne treated him like he was teetering on the edge of death because he was "old" (she was young enough to be his daughter, so); but the conclusion of his and Marianne's romance was super-disappointing, especially after having to listen to Elinor and Edward talk for an entire chapter.

I basically spent the majority of Sense and Sensibility very annoyed with at least one character, and sometimes all the characters. On the plus side, it does read really fast (of course I listened to it on audio, but it felt like it was going by quickly), and the secondary characters are fun. Still, I'm glad this wasn't my first Jane Austen novel, or I'm not sure I would have read any of her other books.

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