book review, classics, reading goals

Review: Sense and Sensibility

I have to admit, I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I loved Pride and Prejudice, and proceeded to watch both movies and “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” over and over shamelessly. I also adored Emma and that protagonist’s fruitful character arc. Sense and Sensibility did not disappoint.

AUTHOR: The one and only Jane Austen

GENRE: Romance, Coming of Age

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK: from my local thrift shop

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

THOUGHTS:

As much as I love Elizabeth Bennet, I personally found the character of Elinor Dashwood to be more relatable and more of a role model. Elinor is sensible, smart, and will show propriety to the best of her ability. Her younger sister on the other hand, has less of a regard for propriety and more of a tendency to discuss her feelings, whether it be appropriate or not. While I am sorry that a heartbreak was the catalyst for her maturation, I must say that Marianne’s character arc was beautifully played out. Elinor, ever so the mature one, still grew too throughout the book and at times portrayed relatable character flaws such as jealousy and contempt, though these instances were few and far between.

In all honesty, I thought that the villain (I will not name them in case any of you have not read this novel yet) was redeemed some by his/her honest confession near the end of the book, which was refreshing. However, the protagonist Elinor strips a lot of this complexity away by concluding that the character was nothing but selfish. I almost feel as if the characterization would had been stronger if Austen did not so blatantly label the character as she saw fit at the end. Additionally, I found the last mentioned marriage of the book, between Marianne and her husband, hard to believe as it was rushed. I would not have minded reading more about Marianne’s further growth and journey to maturity, but of course, this is first and foremost Elinor’s story.

It would not be Jane Austen if there was not an element of satire to the book; the stereotypical characters of Lucy, Mrs. Jennings, Robert Ferrars and his mother, etc. are all present and probably indicate Austen’s perception of people that she had encountered or people she believed society was made up of. If you are a fan of Austen’s wit, there is plenty of that in this novel.

As for the conclusion, there were no gruesome endings, not even for the antagonists, as there were in Pride and Prejudice, but I didn’t mind this so much because that is how real life typically is. And of course, since it is Jane Austen, there were two happy marriages at the end of the book and most everyone decides to live in harmony, putting jealousies and ill will aside.

I also like how the prospect of fortune was not tied to a “happy ending” as it was in Pride and Prejudice for Elinor. Even though she had been somewhat cheated out of a bigger allowance by her sister-in-law, she was still perfectly content to live a comfortable life with the one she loved, and with her family always near.

If you are a Jane Austen fan and have yet to pick this book up, I highly recommend it.

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