Sunday, August 09, 2009

Emma by Jane Austen

You probably know, as part of my participation in the Everything Austen Challenge I'm reading all six of Jane Austen's best-known novels in six months. I finished Emma a few days ago and want to record my impressions of it.

Emma is spoiled, comfortable, self-absorbed yet infinitely concerned about the feelings of her family members and friends. She is confident and cheerful. She's likeable and, at the same time, very flawed. She proudly claims she doesn't intend to marry, but is equally proud of her matchmaking abilities--or more accurately, the ability to predict who will fall in love with whom. But how can Miss Emma Woodhouse fail to fall in love herself, with so many interesting young men around her? And when she proceeds to take a young illegitimate girl under her wing and get her a well-to-do husband, she actually ends up doing the girl much more harm than good. But of course, everything turns out well in the end.

Emma could almost be boring at the beginning if you don't take the time to notice all the humor and the funny characteristics of the characters. To me, the genius of Emma is the characterization. How Jane Austen was able to come up with such interesting, over-the-top but true-to-life characters, I really can't imagine. The beauty of them is how they all interact with each other. So much comedy, so much fun. As a writer I was really fascinated with how she made the characters so consistent, and yet was able to spring surprises on the reader as she went, especially toward the end. I enjoyed this book so much. I can't wait to re-visit more of Jane Austen's wonders!

Right now I'm starting to read my second JA book, Northanger Abbey. It's a different book from her others, with the humor more obvious, as she sets out to spoof the gothic romances that were so popular in her day. It's a lot of fun already and I'm only on page 43! Stay tuned for my review!

Also, I'll be posting an interview with the wonderful Mary Connealy this week and she'll be giving away a copy of one of her books. So come back soon!

Please post how you're doing with the Everything Austen Challenge. I want to know what books you've read or movies you've watched!


JStantonChandler said...

I am ashamed to say I've not read any Austen!

*hangs head in shame*

However, after reading on several blogs about this Austen Challenge, I'm going to have to visit Barnes and Noble and hit up their classics' section!


Robin Johns Grant said...

Wow, you're really giving me the fever! Especially for Northanger Abbey. I haven't read it and didn't realize it would be that humorous. I love Austen's subtle humor (so character-driven) in her other works.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Robin, I can't believe you haven't read Northanger Abbey! Of all JA's books, I think you'd like that one best of all!

Kristi Israel said...

I LOVE Jane Austen. I have read P&P and Persuasion. They were both awesome and so romantic, and of course she knows how to bring down the prideful by exposing their ridiculous natures. In Persuasion, the character of Anne's father is the victim of his own vanity. It makes you wonder if she met people like this.