Rebekah's Reviews > Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
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Mar 17, 12

bookshelves: classics, romance, class-distinction, british-lit, coming-of-age, family, friendship, international, marriage, social-commentary
Read in March, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 2

** spoiler alert ** It's been about six years since I first read Mansfield Park, and I can tell how much I've changed by how different my reactions were. The first time I read it, it was hands-down my favorite Austen book. I was surprised to find that now, it's probably in my lower two (which are still higher than most other books in general).

While Fanny's forbearance and selflessness remain extremely admirable, I had little patience for Edmund. Throughout the book, I thought, "Edmund, why are you being so stupid! Fanny deserves so much better." I loved Fanny's character development and seeing her sweet character be rewarded for her goodness. I did not love hearing Edmund go on and on about awful Miss Crawford. And I still can't decide for sure whether Miss Crawford truly loved Fanny as much as she said or used her to get to Edmund.

Jane Austen's books describe family life in homes so different from mine that I always find them interesting and not quite comprehensible. I can't imagine, for example, a home like the Prices', where things are so chaotic and children run wild. I also can't imagine a home like the Bertrams', with the mother so useless. And the indifference in both homes is foreign to me. But all of it is fascinating.

My big disappointment on the second reading was never having a scene in which Edmund says, "I'm an idiot, Fanny. I love you." It's not as though he's incapable of expressing such sentiments; he won't shut up about Miss Crawford for most of the book. I feel a tad cheated that we don't see that with Fanny. The resolution seemed like Austen was writing for a deadline. Everyone reaches a satisfying conclusion, but it feels like it could have been more fleshed out with dialogue and more specific narration.
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