Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Persuasion, Jane Austen

Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch-Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs, changed naturally into pity and contempt. 

I confess: I was expecting a lot more from Persuasion. The premise of the book is interesting: it is the story of twenty-seven year old Anne Elliot. Eight years earlier, she rejected Frederick Wentworth, choosing her duty to her family over her love for him. Now, he's back again as a successful navy officer, and Anne thinks this might be their second chance. But he's courting the Musgrove sisters, and seems determined to ignore her.

It all sounds very interesting, and Persuasion is definitely one of Jane Austen's more serious works, but the writing lacked something. It wasn't that witty or that interesting in the end. Maybe if I reread it a little later, I'll like it better, but it just didn't draw me in like Pride and Prejudice, and eventually, Emma. I couldn't really relate to Anne like I did to Elizabeth Bennet or Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. There wasn't enough of Wentworth. The background history was kind of vague. I'm sorry to be critical of anything of Jane Austen's, but this one just didn't work for me.

Becky loved it, so I have to come a to a reluctant conclusion: We really don't have similar opinions on books. Books that I love she doesn't review, books that she loves I don't enjoy as much (generally.) Books that she reviews unfavorably I like. It's kind of sad.

Back to Persuasion. As I said, it's a much more serious work; it's not necessarily about young love and flirtation. Anne is still fairly pretty, but she has to face the fact that if she doesn't marry soon, she'll be an old maid. There was a lot less snappy dialogue, and overall, I think it's just an inferior book. I do look forward to reading For Darkness Shows the Stars, a science fiction retelling of it (review coming soon.)

Read Persuasion:
  • if you like Jane Austen
  • if you like light romance
252 pages (in my edition.)
Okay book, but it left me wanting more!

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