Book Review: Sense and Sensibility

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Book Reviews
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Title page from the first edition of Jane Aust...

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I have finally finished reading “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen, having spent the last 9 days trying to get through it.

I discovered that my mum has the complete collection of Jane Austen’s works so i decided, because i have only read “Pride and Prejudice” (and that was a while ago and i know it better from seeing the Keira Knightley film version), that i would attempt to read all her books, starting with “Sense and Sensibility”.

I wasn’t sure whether i could write a book review on Jane Austen’s works as it’s a classic and you can’t say much more about it that people don’t already know, so i thought i would just share my thoughts on reading it (a warning for those of you who haven’t read it, there are spoilers!):

1) I wanted to shake Marianne at times because she is just so young and foolish, and not refine and controlled like her sister Elinor.

2) Willoughby? What a plonker!

3) The whole Edward-is-engaged-to-one-woman-and-is-disowned-by-everyone-and-then-suddenly-is-no-longer-supposedly-married-to-her-and-is-now-free-to-marry-Elinor thing just seems a little ridiculous: i was convinced that Edward was off the market for good and that Elinor was going to end up alone or with someone else as it was only in the penultimate chapter that everything suddenly changed. It’s like Austen decided to give Elinor a second chance and killed off Edward’s seemingly concrete prior engagement to someone he seemed to love for someone he didn’t seem to love. Very confusing.

4) I thought Elinor would end up with Colonel Brandon, not her sister.

5) Having not read a novel with this sort of old-language and grammar for a good few years, it was difficult to get my head back into reading it, but it was oddly refreshing to read something so different to modern novels, proof of its status as a classic.

6) It makes you think just how different today’s society is to that in the book, with the women being all elegant, prim, and proper, and how the things they consider immoral are almost commonplace and widely acceptable in our own society. Maybe the world would be a better place if we had the threat of being disinherited and ostracised by the rest of society if we committed these “crimes”?

7) After literally forcing myself to read it (and having little else to do while my internet was playing up this afternoon), i am glad i can say i read it, but i doubt i would read it again because it really isn’t my thing at all!

That said, i’m still going to read the rest of Austen’s novels, although maybe not in quick succession as this one took so much effort to focus on it!

Can i give it a mark out of 10? Because its a classic, i can’t, although it is well written and it has some unexpected twists in the plot, it did my head in a bit because its not really my genre of book!

  1. Geoff W says:

    You should look at re-reading it once you’ve finished all the others. Once you’ve read it once it’s much easier especially if you know the story. You’re then able to focus more on the characters or the story rather than the language.

    I love Austen’s novels and it’s been a while since I reread any of them.

  2. I own hard copies and Kindle copies of all of Jane Austen’s works. I agree that once you have read several books by her in a row, reading the “old language and grammar” does get easier. I find her books refreshing as well, and I do think they give us a new perspective on what is considered “normal” and how much our society can influence us. If you are interested in further readings about Austen’s characters- there are over 150 books written as sequels or spin-offs using her original works as the framework. I have been reading some of those this year, and they are really enjoyable. Happy Reading! 🙂

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