Top positive review
9 of 9 people found this helpful
Without a doubt, the best Austen
on 5 June 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.