Emma, Jane Austen
Published by: Bantam Dell
ISBN# 0-553-21273-7
422 pages,

The more I love a book, the more difficult it is to write about it. I want to do it justice and I want to effectively describe it so maybe you too will want to read it. I have difficulty writing about a Jane Austen novel. I so admire her intelligence, wit, wisdom, creativity, and courage. In a culture where conformity and strict adherence to societal rules were the order of the day, Austen was a bit of a “square peg.” She never married, she was not wealthy, she had no means of independence as a single woman, and she was a published writer when refined women did not seek a paycheck.

Austen’s life reads like one of her novels (and I very much recommend reading her biographies or correspondence), but her stories and characters were her offering to the world and Emma is a gift to be cherished. Emma Woodhouse is a wealthy, privileged young woman who lives in a small community in rural England. She fancies herself an accomplished matchmaker and though she is kind-hearted and well-meaning, she interferes and complicates the lives of others.

Just like in real life, Emma’s experiences teach her about her character flaws and shortcomings. The book follows her journey from a na├»ve young busy-body to a gracious, more conscientious woman who is surprised to find love and romance for herself – and without the use of matchmaking or manipulation.

There is a lot of humor in Emma. Miss Bates and Mr. Woodhouse are memorable characters who have no idea they provide the comedy for the readers. I can almost guarantee you know a couple of characters like them in your own life today. What was normal daily life for Austen is the setting for Emma and is a kind of time capsule for those of us reading it almost 200 years later. Austen invites us into the early 19th century country life of the gentry and we get an intimate view of the carriage rides, afternoon teas and festive balls and feel the constraints of the careful manners and social expectations. Emma is funny, insightful and romantic. It is a classic for good reason. Thank you, Jane!

Review from the Page Turner

1 comment:

  1. Great review! You made me want to read the book!

    Gail Mundy