The reason why this story has most of its ratings and like/dislike at polar ends, is that the main character, Fanny, is the perfect embodiment of what...moreThe reason why this story has most of its ratings and like/dislike at polar ends, is that the main character, Fanny, is the perfect embodiment of what our current society does not want to teach its girls to be. This is not to say that Fanny or her character, or the things her character stands for, is wrong at all -- in fact it's perhaps more 'right' in many aspects than our current points to instill in our children. But, if I were to select the best word to describe Fanny, I would tell a person who is considering MP for the first time, to "be prepared, because the main character is very, very traditional". Huge culture clash, not just era clash.
As a girl born in our day and age, if you were to meet Fanny, you would likely lose patience with her very quickly, and label her as pitiful (to-be-pitied, not the "what a loser" sense), without any idea of the empowerment and rights of women, and though her nature is kind and sweet and considerate and all other wanted, good qualities, she is too plain in the sense that she has nothing her own to give to people who befriend her; the follower, with no input or opinion, or even, sometimes, the lackey. <-- please note this is NOT how Fanny should be interpreted in the story; I'm merely pointing out why so many people dislike her so much. The modes of thought, the portrayal of the excellences that Fanny possesses, the environment that she displays those perfections in, often work against her when read by modern readers who are not quite able to seperate themselves from "how things should be" and "how things are in this story", and make comparisons between characters in the story, rather than comparing to our era. This isn't the only problem, but I find it the biggest.
Would I recommend you read it in its entirety, even if you don't like it but you've heard it's a masterpiece? Use your own judgement and understand of yourself. If you're the type that can take in literary criticism, is willing to read it once through, explore the criticism and applause for the work, then reflect or re-read and think about the work yourself, then yes, I think you might put serious thought into trudging to the end at least once. If you know you're the type that's only reading this because people said it was good, are not even a fan of Austen or the genre or the language, don't need it for an assignment, and you're not interested in even considering alternate interpretations than yours (this is not a bad thing -- we all do it for certain books or pieces of writing!), then yea, you can think about dropping the book after you establish you thoroughly dislike it. If you get persuaded to read through the book later on, maybe even years later, and you end up enjoying it, well, that's good too. If you never get to pick it up again, that's fine, too --- there are other works out there you can read first, and enjoy even more, since everyone has their own "best book in the world!!" title. ^_^
It's not everyone's cup of tea --- more so than most books. If you just want to get to know Austen's writing, you don't have to start with this one if you're put off when you try the beginning or whatnot. In fact, I don't recommend this book as an introduction to Austen, because it is quite different from her usual novel's templates/ingredients, anyhow.
So what do I think of Fanny? I understand her character; I grew up in a very open North American society, but my family upbringing is very traditional, so there's a constant clash, and I very obviously in many situations, have different outlooks and different behaviours. Do I like Fanny? Personally, no, but that's my business, and I have a million other reasons why I don't like her. Do I think she's worthy of being a liked character? Yes, absolutely, and I even agree there is depth and such to her character. Do I think she, as the main character, and as the main character I don't like, ruin the story? Nah. If she does that for you, I'd suggest (notice I'm not telling you) that perhaps you're focusing on her too much, to the point that the other characters and happenings are gaining too little attention; ie. though they are 'background', it doesn't mean 'ignore'. (less)
I absolutely hated this book in the first quarter. By the time I got to the halfway point, I suddenly realised that I couldn't put it down. From then...moreI absolutely hated this book in the first quarter. By the time I got to the halfway point, I suddenly realised that I couldn't put it down. From then on it was just excitement after excitement. If you're like me, and didn't enjoy it at first, keep going --- I think you'll end up loving it, too!
But as much as I loved it, I do have constructive criticism for it. That is, it's too fictional, and the story told so entirely one-sided that though we can easily be persuaded to believe Darcy's love for Lizzy and vice versa (I seriously doubt that is a spoiler), it is too sudden and almost entirely baseless (we are told that this-and-this can be taken for evidence, in such a way as to indicate that "This is So", so we end up following along). Not that I did not enjoy the lie or the almost fairytale like story. I say this with the same feelings as someone who genuinely knows and understands the standard schoolgirl shojo manga, yet can't help but keep reading a number of titles. In fact, P&P is almost like that --- the cliches are there, the fairytale ending is there, the obvious pairing(s) is there, but there's something that sets this one aside from the others and makes it unique, highly enjoyable (surpassing others), and in a sense, all its own, too.
That's not the only thing I saw trouble with, but it was the biggest, and it was the one that impacted the story the most. (less)
My personal opinion (of course): I didn't like this book, and I can almost say that I hate it. (Thus I highly suspect that I'm going to hate the orig....moreMy personal opinion (of course): I didn't like this book, and I can almost say that I hate it. (Thus I highly suspect that I'm going to hate the orig. Quixote story when I read it, too.) The only saving grace that got me through this book, other than that it was required for my university course (correction; that's not a saving grace at all), was that it was so ridiculous that it screamed "fiction! fiction!!!" every time I glanced at it and so I was able to tell myself "no one is this bad in real life. It's ok."
I know there's a message in there (which I won't spoil because it's better for each reader to come away with their own nuances in interpreting the message of a story). But even in real life when I meet someone who is so innocent and naive, I get rather upset. Because it tells me that this person is either not attentive enough to others and the feelings of others (and therefore is selfish, no matter how 'nice' or 'caring' they seem), but also that this person is extremely stubborn and arrogant, unwilling to listen to, or consider the counsel and opinions of others. So it's really not "innocent and naive" anymore.
And in the case of Arabella, OMG. If this was written in modern times, her story might very well end in a few chapters instead of an entire book.
Seriously, if I wasn't paranoid about owning books I've read, or to keep a sample of each writing style on hand, then I would do my best to get this book off my hands.(less)