Review: Emma by Jane Austen

Review: Emma by Jane Austen

Review: Emma by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen

Genres: classic, Romance, Historical
Publication Date: May 6th 2003
Pages: 474
Format: eBook
Buy the book: Amazon

Goodreads

Synopsis:

'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.

 

My Review

It took me a couple of weeks to finish this book because honestly, it could be a little dry and frustrating to read at times. Considering I am someone who reads a lot of young adult fiction, I am used to fast paced and easy reading, and Emma was a lot of things but fast paced and easy are not two words that come to mind when I think about this book.

However, some words that do come to mind are: funny, sweet, cute, witty, charming, romantic, and thought-provoking.

 

Emma was a new type of character for me. She was a genuinely nice person who wanted to be helpful, but she was also a spoiled snob who thought she knew what was best for everyone. The great thing about this book and the genius of Jane Austen is that despite her many faults, Emma was still likable. But I can’t count the number of times I wanted to reach into my Kindle, shake some sense into that girl, and tell her to mind her own business.

 

It all starts when Emma meets a new friend Harriet Smith. Harriet quickly becomes Emma’s pet, and Emma quickly becomes Harriet’s heroine. Early on in their friendship, Harriet receives a proposal from a nice, successful farmer, but because Emma is so fond of Harriet, she thinks Harriet is too good for this farmer and convinces the poor girl to turn him down and set her sights on a richer and more socially acceptable better man.

This blunder on Emma’s part leads to some pretty funny and embarrassing moments for everyone. Emma ends up with a completely different mindset about everything by the end of the book, and it was enjoyable reading about her journey and growth. She was never a cruel person and her snobbish behavior came from a good place believe it or not. In truth, Harriet was someone way beneath Emma’s station, but she loved her as a sister almost immediately after meeting her. Emma didn’t so much need to learn to be a better person as much as she needed to learn to stop picking and choosing what other people needed to do with their lives. She also benefited from learning that she really didn’t know half as much about people and life as she thought she did.

 

As a fellow bossy busybody who has learned this particular lesson more times than I can count, it made Emma very easy for me to relate to even though I disagreed with nearly every move she made. Her heart was in the right place.  It was interesting to see how things came full circle and everyone ended up where they belonged in spite of (or maybe because of) Emma’s meddling.

 

Now I want to discuss Emma’s romance so look away if you don’t want to be spoiled.

View Spoiler »

 

Despite how long it was, this book was a joy to read from start to finish. I’m glad I took my time instead of rushing right through because I would have missed out on all the feelings I got to experience. I was so proud of the person Emma became because I was so frustrated with the person she used to be. I made mention of Emma’s “happily ever after” in my spoiler, but every single character in this book got an “ever after” that was just as happy. Not one person was left out of the joy.

If all of Jane Austen’s books are as romantic and fun as Emma and Pride and Prejudice, I finally get why her works are still beloved and heavily consumed by romantics today. There is a sort of timelessness to her storytelling that transcends the dated but beautiful language. It may have taken her one hundred words to say what authors today convey with ten, but those one hundred words are worth it.

 

I would only recommend Emma to those of you who enjoy a nice slow building relationship. The payoff at the end of this book is incredible, but the journey could be a little tiring for some. If you like, classic novels, sweet romance, and interesting character growth, I would add this one to your book bucket list.

This book is suitable for all ages, but I would suggest the reading level for ages 12 and up. 

I give this book five roses

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

 

Author Biography

About Jane Austen

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years until she was about 35 years old. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she tried then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it.

Austen's works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew's A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.

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