Author: Jane Austen
Date Finished: 21/02/13
Re-Read? : First time read
Overall: 4/5 – rather good
Surprisingly, I didn’t actually love this book, even though I kind of assumed that I would with it being so many people’s number 1 classic. I have a feeling that this may have been down to the fact that I took way to long reading it, as my life got very busy before my trip to Uganda (which was absolutely incredible by the way).
The plot was a strong point for me, but only really towards the end of the book – I didn’t feel particularly gripped early on and everything seemed a bit silly. Again, I think this is due to me only being able to read a few pages every night and just not getting into the story. The last third of the book was much better and I did actually want to read on, even if I couldn’t. Up until then, I would have probably only given it 3/5!
The characters are (obviously) very ‘Austen’, and for me, that means a bit over-exaggerated. I do prefer characters to at least have some realistic attributes but it seems with Austen that they are all almost one-traited. For example, Jane is known as being very kind and always looking for the best in people, so she has to be almost naïve and gullible throughout the story, which is just totally unrealistic. Almost all the characters got on my nerves at least once during the book and I didn’t really sympathise or empathise with any of them, but I think this would change with a re-read.
The setting and language are very nice if you have time for appreciating them, but a few pages a day meant that I wasn’t getting very far because of the complex language and sometimes extensive description. However, this is just a fault of my reading style and not of the writing itself. Again, with a re-read I would expect to appreciate the language and setting a lot more.
Overall, I didn’t dislike the book at all, but compared to the expectations that come with being top of so many lists and the favourite of so many bloggers, I think it’s fair to say I was slightly disappointed. However, it is going on the re-read list now and I am still looking forward to my next Austen for The Classics Club. I am not sure what this will be yet, as I don’t actually have one on my TBR shelf but I am inclined to save Sense and Sensibility and go for Mansfield Park next.