Book Review: EMMA, by Jane Austen

Oh, what a guilty pleasure Jane Austen is. Romantic stories generally bore me to pieces, unless they're the subplot of some bigger story, but Jane Austen has a way of winning me over with one deft stroke in Pride & Prejudice. I rolled my eyes a million times as I read that one, enjoying the dialogue but heaving great, bored sighs at the tedious evolution of the characters' engagements--until the last ten pages, when I realized how Austen had hooked me completely. I realized how much, despite my protests, I really wanted everything to work out.

Well, you got me, I conceded to Miss Austen, who rather quickly won my respect.

I went into EMMA admitting sheepishly that of course I'd be up to my ears in romantic entanglements, and that probably I'd care about all the drama and poufy dresses. I did care, and somewhat less reluctantly than I might have pre-Pride & Prejudice. But partly what made the whole story ten times better to me was the knowledge that the movie Clueless was based on the story of EMMA.

What, you say? It's true.

When I began to get annoyed with the characters' shallow, pretentious behavior (Miss Emma herself irritated me plenty at times: apparently Austen was quoted as saying, in regards to Emma, that "I am going to make a heroine whom no one but myself will like." I liked her alright about eighty percent of the time, though she's no Elizabeth Bennett), all I had to do was imagine them in high school and suddenly, it made a little more sense. Or it was a bit more amusing.

But of course I loved it, and my heart went all fluttery as things began to resolve. EMMA is a good book, and surprisingly, a tough one to put down.


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