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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Em is a Gem !!??
This novel - after a little adjustment to the style of writing if not accustomed to Austen - makes a marvellous read ! Emma is feisty, warm, witty and mischievous - but not without fault. One finds oneself caught up in the characterisation of Emma and quickly realise that the themes of pride, perception and prejudice ( Austen's speciality ) run throughout.

The...
Published on 6 Feb. 2007 by Clinty

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A Different kind of read.
I'm a new Jane Austin aficionado and enjoyed Sense and Sensibility but Pride and Prejudice outshone that and was simply exquisite so to Emma this is very different to the two mentioned in that it has less of a story and is more character based it's also much longer and the narrative and general pace of the book is slower with few major events springing up and the ending...
Published on 4 April 2011 by Julia Havard


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Em is a Gem !!??, 6 Feb. 2007
By 
This review is from: Emma (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
This novel - after a little adjustment to the style of writing if not accustomed to Austen - makes a marvellous read ! Emma is feisty, warm, witty and mischievous - but not without fault. One finds oneself caught up in the characterisation of Emma and quickly realise that the themes of pride, perception and prejudice ( Austen's speciality ) run throughout.

The reader really is only meant to see events from Emma's point of view - she is the heroine afterall. Her personality carries this novel - she is amusing, clever and inspiring - she has a good nature, is not too egotistical and is willing to learn from her mistakes.

My fave Jane Austen novel - with bouncy, flowing dialogue, an interesting main character and clever subversive story that does not reveal too much all at once, but allows the reader to indulge in the interraction of characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover., 5 Feb. 2011
Good Points:

~Elegant cover design (in my favourite colour).
~Is hardy and wont damage easily, will look pristine for years.
~Has a in-built bookmark.
~Gives a history of Jane Austen (including chronology an a section called 'The Penguin Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen'.
~Gives a short history of Penguin Classics.
~Has all the really useful notes on the text in the back, and gives all the 'Emendations to the Text' in the back also.

Bad Points:

~Would be really useful to have two in-built bookmarks: one for the text and one for the notes in the back, to save time flicking through the notes constantly.

Review:

People looking to buy this book will most likely fall into one of two categories; those that have read Emma before, love it, and want a binding of the book that will last forever, and those that have never read Emma, always wanted to, and loved the look of the cover on this version. For those that have read the book you will be happy to hear that I will not be doing a long review of the story, as this would read much like an English Lit. essay, and that is not why you are reading this. For those that have never read the book, all I can say is that you will not be disappointed if you are familiar with reading books from this period.

The key thing that sets this book apart from the others is surely the binding. It really is beautifully done, and is of a very high standard, well worth the extra £5 on other paperback editions. If you are like me, and have to keep your books looking pristine (by not bending the spine on paperbacks) then it will be a relief to know that its almost impossible to make this book look bashed. Unless you get water on it. Don't put it in your handbag with a leaky flask like I did, as it will be watermarked. The little chair design by Coralie Bickford-Smith is superb, and looks brilliant on my bookshelf, much better than the plain looking black spines of the other penguin bindings. The paper is also of a very high gsm compared with cheaper versions so is less likely to spoil also. My only worry is that the cover may fade in sunlight, so I have put mine on a bookshelf I have in my hallway (where there is no windows, and so no damaging sunlight).

The introduction and notes are by Fiona Stafford and are interesting to read once you have read through the book. I guess these notes and introduction would be very useful for people reading this book for academic purposes.

Conclusion:

You will be putting this book in your will, it will last that long no matter how many times you read it!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My desert island book, 8 Nov. 2009
Please, if you have never read Emma, please do judge this book by any film or TV adaptation you may have seen. The classic mistake of adaptors is to squeeze out a plot where there is none, trying to turn it into another Pride and Prejudice. (I love P & P, but Emma is better.)

This novel is about characters and is a wickedly funny observation of the society, the manners and the daily lives of the early 19th century. It sparkles with humour.

This is a truly great book that does not give up all its secrets at the first (or even the tenth reading.) Nothing happens in Emma, everything happens in Emma.

Read, savour, re-read.

(Who am I to praise the great Jane?. Unworthy. I will just genuflect and go.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Austen's best novel!, 10 May 2013
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I love, Jane Austen and keep reading her novels.
Her characters are so, so extraordinary, from unexceptional heroes to highly comic secondary characters. They are so much "like in real life", and at the same time, so mightly interesting, and thoroughly (but never boringly) described, that many cannot believe Jane Austen invented them, and try to imagine her own family and friends used as models.
Emma is highly entertaining from the beginning, but as for any of Jane Austen novels, I would say : highly entertaining for people who like to read real books of real litterature; if you don't, you can try Emma because it is funnier (Jane Austen sparkling humour) but you may like it... or not.
There is one particularity : we see the heroin, in the severest light, which makes that many don't make out her real, good qualities and overrate her (real, too;..) faults.
This Penguin edition has a pleasant cover, correct paper but no note at all, which surprised me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Handsome, clever and rich", 10 April 2012
Ah, the original feel-good romantic comedy. Snotty and arrogant Emma Woodhouse, takes it upon herself to arrange the love lives of her friends and neighbours in quiet and dreary Highbury. Is she as clever as she thinks she is?

This is a book that you probably feel you have read, even if you haven't. The plot and characters have been borrowed by two dozen TV and film adaptations, plus many hundreds (thousands?) of romantic novels. To escape these, you probably need to move to North Korea. So you already know the story, the characters, and the ending. Is it worth reading the novel?

Hell yes. This is one of the funniest books ever written. Jane Austin's piercing dry wit runs through every page, striking at the brilliant and believable characters, ridiculing the banality of village life, and achieving a perfect balance of humour, sympathy and wisdom. People who don't like this book typically raise two criticisms: the heroine is irritating, and nothing happens. Personally, I find Emma funny because she is so irritating. As for 'nothing happens', well that's true, except for the intimate portrayal of a whole community, in which half a dozen people fall in love.

Who bought Jane Fairfax the harpsichord? Will Frank Churchill visit Highbury? Will Miss Bates shut up? The characters are entirely convincing; they more or less jump out of the book and offer you a cup of tea. Time and again, I found myself thinking 'I know someone like that', and the best character of all is the flawed and incompetent heroine. Good characters don't have to be likable, but they better be interesting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undoubtedly my favourite novel of all time, 11 Aug. 2011
Five stars seems inadequate for this absolute gem. I have read it at least six times and I have listened to the BBC audio tape more times than I can count and there is always another layer, another turn of phrase I hadn't noticed. If I have had a stressful day a few chapters of this masterpiece transfers me immediately to the nineteenth century and at once I am involved again in Hartfield life.

There is not a character out of place, it has a wonderful sense of time and place and the reader is beguiled by Emma even though it has to be said she is snobbish, interfering and judgmental. Emma is blind to her destiny though a careful reader will see it signaled from the earliest chapters. In some senses, besides being both a romance and a social commentary it is an intriguing puzzle, It sparkles with wit, I love the passage where Mr John Knightley is reluctantly going out to dinner and his fears for the dullness of the evening are timeless.. who has not thought that way about an evening out, even now?
In my opinion this is Jane Austen's finest work by far, outstripping the more popular Pride and Prejudice by a mile. If you are new to Jane Austen, or indeed to nineteenth century literature, I recommend you start here. If you were force fed it at school and it was perhaps poorly taught please try it again now
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without a doubt, the best Austen, 5 Jun. 2011
I never really imagined myself to be a potential Jane Austen fan as I normally read sci-fi, fantasy and historical novels but once I read Pride and Prejudice I could not help but speed through the rest of her works in pretty quick succession. Austen has an amazing talent for writing about the most mundane every day events in a most interesting and entertaining way. Gossip about people whom one does not know (which is essentially what her books are!) should by all rights be incredibly boring, but then Austen depicts her characters so well that you feel that you do know them. She does not do this so well in any other work as she does in Emma.

Emma is a character who is very easy to relate to, in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact that she is so flawed. Jane Austen referred to Emma as 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like' but how wrong she was. In spite of all her flaws Emma is very likeable indeed. She is highly intelligent and can actually be very shrewd in picking up some social cues.. the audience's entertainment is in the manner in which she misinterprets them! Her main redeeming feature is in the fact that she doesn't realise her own faults, but once she does, she is utterly sorry for them.

Emma is snobbish, her understanding of the events around her is imperfect and she takes a pleasure in interfering in the lives of others. Moreover she is selfish, vain about her intellect and standing in the community and has a tendency to look down her nose at people who do not posess the same qualities she believes herself to have. Poor Emma does not see it this way at all, she is unaware of her own flaws - aren't we all? and it all comes back to bite her in the backside in the end when she not only causes her friend to suffer but also causes her to adopt some of Emma's own negative personality traits which is perhaps one of the key reasons for Emma's epiphany about just how ugly those traits are and just how badly she has behaved. But then, Emma is only 17, and what 17 year old does not make these mistakes? The concept of a teenager may not have existed back in 1815, but teenage behaviour clearly did!

The main amusement for the reader is in seeing things from Emma's perspective but then also seeing it from a perspective that Emma cannot (ie the truth of the situation!) and picking up the clues that Emma misses or misinterprets. It is an entertaining, easy and funny read which I highly reccomend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic, 31 Mar. 2010
Recently every book I have been reading seems to be a badly written, trashy novel. I decided it was time to (once again) attempt a classic. After consulting a very unhelpful librarian on where to start, I chose this book quite randomly. Having previously tried S&S after watching the brilliant BBC adaptation (but not getting further than the first couple of chapters due to the confusing way it was written) I wasn't really expecting to finish Emma - which is very long; and divided into three 'books'.
However, I instantly loved it. The language is beautiful and the characters real. Most of all, the plot is very believable - I can imagine this book being written now. The plot is one which could be very trashy - a girl trying to fix up her friends - yet the way it is written almost makes you forget this.
My only problem is that it is possibly too long a book for the amount of things that happen and some of the dialogue is very confusing. However, I think this is a great starting point if you do want to get into classic literature and I have been inspired to read other books from the era.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love it, because we all secretly want an Austen hero of our own...!, 14 Jun. 2011
I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read all her novels multiple times, never getting tired of the plots or characters. I love the wit of her writing, the sarcasm and irony add real humour and depth to what are very simply good love stories. OK, there is narrative on society at the time, the values applied to literature / religion / class etc, which are illustrated very accessibly in her work, but essentially this is chick-lit at its best.

In Emma we have a real anti-heroine, a young lady who is inherently flawed and ought to be considered quite unlikeable. She is selfish, snobby and smug, constantly judges and interferes with her supposed friends lives, and while accepting minimal blame when proven wrong in her actions is somehow always able to still justify them to herself as well-intentioned if badly executed. And yet, you like her regardless! You find yourself wanting to affectionately scold her, as the scrummy hero of the piece Mr Knightley does, rather than despising her, which I guess is testament to Jane Austen's abilities to create such an interesting character as Emma.

The various love trianges which appear in this plot are all believable and realistic, but portrayed in a lovely romantic fashion to make you feel all warm and smushy, and there are several twists and turns which when you are reading this for the first time you won't necessarily predict the outcome of.

It's one of those books you can't bear to put down, and the happy ending is as lovely as you expect from a Jane Austen. Highly recommend all her books, but this is second only to the Pride & Prejudice in my opinion as an absolute romantic classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's such a happiness, 16 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emma (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition" is a suitable heroine for Jane Austen's lightest, frothiest novel. While "Emma" is not nearly as dramatic as Austen's other works, it is an enchanting little comedy of manners in which a young woman with the best intentions meddles in others' love lives... with only the faintest idea of how people (including herself) actually feel.

After matchmaking her governess Miss Taylor, Emma Woodhouse considers herself a natural at bringing people together. She soon becomes best buddies with Harriet, a sweet (if not very bright) young woman who is the "natural daughter of somebody." Emma becomes determined to pair Harriet with someone deserving of her (even derailing a gentleman-farmer's proposal), such as the smarmy, charming Mr. Elton. When Emma's latest attempt falls apart, she finds that getting someone OUT of love is a lot harder than getting them INTO it.

At around the same time, two people that Emma has heard about her entire life have arrived -- the charming Frank Churchill, and the reserved, remote Miss Jane Fairfax (along with rumors of a married man's interest in her). Emma begins a flirtatious friendship with Frank, but for some reason is unable to get close to Miss Fairfax. As she navigates the secrets and rumors of other people's romantic lives, she begins to realize who she has been in love with all along.

Out of all Jane Austen's books, "Emma" is the frothiest and lightest -- there aren't any major scandals, lives ruined, reputations destroyed, financial crises or sinister schemes. There's just a little intertwined circle of people living in a country village, and how one young woman tries to rearrange them in the manner that she genuinely thinks is best. Of course, in true comedy style everything goes completely wrong.

And despite the formal stuffiness of the time, Austen wrote the book in a languidly sunny style, threading it with a complex web of cleverly orchestrated rumors and romantic tangles. There's some moments of seriousness (such as Emma's rudeness to kind, silly Miss Bates), but it's also laced with some entertaining dialogue ("Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way") and barbed humor (the ridiculous and obnoxious Mrs. Elton).

Modern readers tend to be squicked by the idea of Emma falling for a guy who's known her literally all her life, but Austen makes the subtle relationship between Knightley and Emma one of affectionate bickering and beautiful romantic moments ("If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me").

Emma is a character who is likable despite her flaws -- she's young, bright, well-meaning and assured of her own knowledge of the human heart, but also naive and sometimes snobbish. She flits around like a clumsy butterfly, but is endearing even when she screws up. Mr. Knightley is her ideal counterpoint, being enjoyably blunt and sharp-witted at all times. And there's a fairly colorful supporting cast -- Emma's neurotic but sweet dad, her kindly ex-governess, the charming Frank, the fluttery Miss Bates, and even the smarmy Mr. Elton and his bulldozing wife.

"Emma" is the most lightweight and openly comedic of all Jane Austen's novels, with a likable (if clueless) heroine and a multilayered plot full of half-hidden feelings. A lesser delight.
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Emma (Penguin Popular Classics)
Emma (Penguin Popular Classics) by Jane Austen (Paperback - 1994)
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