by Jane Austen
What to say about Emma. If I had not been reading this book for a challenge, I would have given up before page 20. And it did not get really interesting for me until about page 300! Even then, I could have put it down at any time. So I have some thanks to give to the 9 for \’09 Challenge for stretching my brain with this one. As I did not really like it, I don\’t want to say much about it, and leave it to other bloggers (links below) to give better criticism, analysis and praise. To be short: Emma is about a young woman in 19th century England, whose greatest concern is who her friends will marry. She doesn\’t ever want to marry herself, but gets all involved in matching up her friends- and nothing goes as she thinks it will. In the end, everyone ends up being in love with someone other than who we thought- including Emma herself. Oh, and her pet project was to take a lower-class girl, Harriet, and try to educate and culture her, then make her a match with a gentleman. I\’m glad it ended up well for Harriet, I was feeling sorry for her near the end.
On the whole, I found Emma incredibly dull. I\’ve read other books (in my school days) set in this time period, even with similar themes, which have far more interesting descriptions and events. Emma is full of musings and plans, veiled conversations and quiet get-togethers. It\’s all talk and letters and nothing much seems to happen. (Except for one scene where two ladies walking alone were terrified out of their wits by a band of begging gypsies). The occasional quaint spelling and view of a by-gone way of life was interesting, but that was about it. I admit my mind wandered a lot, as I struggled at almost every sitting to keep from falling asleep over the book- so I probably missed a lot of subtle humor and clever plot things. But I\’m not itching to try it again. After Madame Bovary and this one, I\’m starting to think that classics just aren\’t my cup of tea anymore.
This book reminded me of The Importance of Being Earnest, although I read that so long ago (high school) I can hardly recall what it\’s about. And- this may sound silly- at the end I couldn\’t help thinking of the Harry Potter books- because at the close of every one of those you find that some of the characters had quite different intentions than you thought all along- or at least, than the main character thought.
Rating: 2/5 367 pages, 1816