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Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: Sense and Sensibility

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , , , ,
Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
Classic Literature
Amazon / Goodreads


Plot Summary:

'The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!'

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.

Review:

There are two things about Sense and Sensibility that stand out to me - the writing and the characters.  Jane Austen's writing is so light and entertaining and it seems particularly emphasized in this book.  The tone is gently wry and mocking which makes sense because these characters are very broad and humorous.  The main sisters - Elinor and Marianne represent the title, and because each are so completely ruled by one trait - sense or sensiblility - it was difficult for me to be completely sympathetic with either one.  Although Elinor is easily the most appealing character in this book.  But of course the main drama is that Elinor and Marianne need to grow and mature and Austen paints their journey brilliantly.  Everyone else around the two sisters and the three male leads were generally quirky and humorous in their mannerisms. Which added to the entertaining nature of this book.  The men - Edward, Brandon and Willoughby were all generally nice yet unexciting (except Willoughby is just a prat!).  It's odd that while I feel very charmed by these characters - they are all not very well-rounded.

I did love that there's such a lovely, natural, confidential style to Austen's narrative, where it felt like I was eavesdropping on some very personal gossip.  Even though Austen's cool tone creates some distance between the reader and the characters, I still felt very invested in their lives.  And that sense of living in this world of civility and protocol was very entrancing.

I feel like my thoughts on this book are a little all over the place.  I definitely enjoyed it, though there are moments when the action becomes monotonous and when I felt like everyone in this book acted very silly.  And I was disappointed by how many times Jane Austen takes the reader away from key romantic moments - from the proposals in the end most importantly.  But the humor is deftly ingrained in the narrative (especially in the secondary characters) and the deceptive simplicity of the story and the resolution made this a very charming read.

Fourth book read in the Classics Club Challenge
Also part of the 2014 Jane Austen Challenge

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17 comments:

  1. I loved this book so much. I was so into the whole plot. I like to feel as if I live in the time period and that is probably why I like Austen so much.

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    1. I think that will be the same for me - it's fun to immerse myself in the time with Austen!

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  2. I really have never liked the male characters in this one..especially Edward..he is nothing like our Edward..feel like if Rochester ever met him he would say ' I would sooner hit a woman than you'..he is just so weak and I wished that he would just pursue what would make him happy for once.
    I do love Elinor though..think she is too good for Edward LOL

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    1. LOL For sure Edward is nothing like ours! It seems like they are just nice together - no reason why they are particularly in love. It would have been nice to have more of a face-off with that nasty Lucy Steele too!

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  3. I've never read Sense & Sensibility, even though my favorite book ever is Pride & Prejudice. Whenever I get an Austen craving, I just turn to P&P again.

    I am curious about this book, though I am nervous that I will have a hard time really caring much for Elinor or Marianne. Great review!

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    1. I can see that - I always turn to Jane Eyre and have not felt the need to reread Charlotte Bronte's other novels, though I would like to someday! I wonder how you will enjoy this one though since P&P is such a fave - whether you will compare it more favorably or unfavorable with P&P!

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  4. I haven't read any classic completely. I plan to try some during summer break, though. This one's definitely going on my TBR for that. :D I hope I enjoy Austen's writing as much as you did!

    Aimee @ Read by the Undead

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    1. *gasp* There are so many great Classics, so I hope you will find one to love! Austen is a great start!

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  5. What a lovely review! You are right, Austen knows how to make fun of her characters in a gentle way. I am looking forward to reading Northanger Abbey, because she is making gentle fun of the ever popular gothic style romance. I had forgotten how often Austen pulls the reader away from the intimate romantic scenes. I am so used to the Austen movies in which these scenes are full and center.

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    1. I enjoyed Northanger Abbey, though I think I liked the recent adaptation more (similar to you and the Sense and Sensibility adaptations!) It might be because the adaptations let you see more of the romance like you say, I love to get caught up in those romantic feelings!

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  6. The tone of Austen's books is really why I love her and you describe that perfectly in your review :) I love the cover you chose to share too!

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    1. I really should have read all of Austen's work before because they are enjoyable for that reason! And thanks for noticing that - I did spend some time trying to find a book cover I really liked! :)

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  7. Awww, I agree with just about everything you said! Sense & Sensibility might be my least favorite of Austen's novels that I've read. (I've not read Mansfield Park or Emma.) I still love it because it's Austen, but I feel so much more connection to the characters in Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Pride & Prejudice. And, actually, I think she has a habit of taking you away from the most romantic moments! I remember in Northanger Abbey that the romantic bits at the end are glossed over, which was disappointing. (I just kept in mind the BBC adaptation to keep me happy!)

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    1. I am really looking forward to picking up Persuasion, I feel like it will be my favorite read of this challenge! I was much more taken by the BBC adaptation of Northanger Abbey as you know, which led me to be more than a bit disappointed by the book, but the characters in NA as well as P&P were all so much fun. So I'm sure I'll still enjoy all her books even if they don't become my favorites! :)

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  8. I haven't read Sense and Sensibility yet, but you have very well summed up my feelings about what I have read of Austen so far! Especially the part about her taking the reader away from key romantic moments. What they hey, Austen?!

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    1. Agreed! Just a little more romance would have been great! Oh well, like Rachel said above, I just have to keep the BBC adaptations in mind! :)

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    2. Yes, the adaptations are better at giving us all the feels! :)

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