Jane Austen is one of my favorite writers. I stormed through five of her books during the crazy high school years, have reread most since, and have a decided order of admiration.*
Despite those facts, I just finished finally reading Sense and Sensibility.
Why, you ask?
Well, I accidentally on purpose watched a movie version of it first. I was flipping through the channels and came across Masterpiece PBS, which was just starting the 1995 movie. And I thought,
“Kate Winslet! Emma Thompson! I love them.”
Coupled with the fact that I was very sure I’d be diving into the book soon, I, with only the slightest hint of trepidation that this might not be my brightest idea, watched the movie.
And really disliked it.
Marianne just seemed so emotional. And everything was so dramatic. And I’ve pretty much never liked any of Hugh Grant’s movies. (Sorry, Hugh Grant.)
After that disappointing experience, I tried to get into the book a few times, but with all the hemming and hawing I could muster, I couldn’t get past the first chapter.
Fast forward a few years:
I’m back at home, after college, looking at the ridiculous amount of books I amassed during high school (Seriously ridiculous. I’m still culling.).
And then I see it.
My gifted used copy of Sense and Sensibility.
I think, “Why not?”
Within a week, I finish the book, completely in love, and faster than I’ve finished any of Austen’s other works.
I’ve decided it was a stage in life/mood thing.
While I love movies, we all know that the movies don’t compare to the book. (Yadda, yadda, down the stereotype we go.)
But within the pages of Austen, Marianne came to life as a beautiful, impulsive young woman. Eleanor, the committed, steady hand. The family whose love runs deep and expands to include others in their midst, even people who are mildly annoying. It’s beautiful.
And Edward Ferrars. Oh my goodness, this torn man.
It’s a lovely story.
What I like most about Austen in general is the second chances she gives her characters. Elizabeth runs into Darcy at Pemberley. Wentworth returns to the very place his heart was broken eight years ago. Marianne finds strength to love again. As someone who not infrequently makes the same mistake twice, Austen’s stories fill me with hope.
Sense and Sensibility is a fresh reminder of the wonder of being extended, and extending, grace and mercy, whether it is fully deserved or not.
Just so you know, I’ve gone back and watched both the 1995 production and the more recent 2008 mini-series. And really liked both. The 1995 version for its portrayal of Margaret, the youngest sister, and Emma Thompson’s screenplay. How neat is it that Emma Thompson wrote the script? The 2008 mini I liked for its fleshed out portrayal of Edward.
All’s well that ends wonderfully.
*My list of Jane Austen’s work in order of favorites:
Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility
The honor of being the first book I successfully completed in 2015 belongs to Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd. As the sequel to The Madman’s Daughter, one of my favorite series’ openers, I was incredibly excited to read it after grabbing a copy at a Girls Gone Sci-Fi event.
Like its predecessor, Her Dark Curiosity is full of unexpected plot twists, scrambling emotions, and a few macabre scenes that made my body squirm with sympathy pains.
Its protagonist, Juliet, is a fascinating mix of sheer survivalist, occasional twisted thinker, and person of many romantic notions.
Here are my three favorite quotes:
Emotions had never come easy to me, and they now threaded themselves in knots I couldn’t possibly unravel. “Killing is a choice.” (p 84)
Some people didn’t deserve to live, and if that made me a monster, so be it.” (p 331)
You’ve no idea how I admire a young woman who says what she truly thinks, even if more often than not it’s to express her poor opinion of me.” (p 333)
It’s pretty important to note that, within context, the quotes above are far from straightforward statements.
Are you a book quote lover too?
Happy Top Ten Tuesday, my friends!
Is it just me, or is this winter simultaneously dragging on and zooming by??
Regardless, there’s plenty of time to read and watch awesome things.
Here are my top ten:
1. Australia day is January 26th, in case you were wondering. :D
2. I forgot to mention this, but the reason I initially picked up Under the Never Sky was because of its amazing book trailer.
And don’t forget to contribute to the Classic Alice crowdfunding campaign!
5. And just to reiterate, if you’ve read Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, I’d love to hear whether or not you’d recommend it. I’m curious!