I love Jane Austen.
I LOVE Jane Austen.
I LOVE JANE AUSTEN!!I…LOVE…JANE…AUSTEN!!I……LOVE…..JANE..…AUSTEN!!
I still twitch a bit, but I'm getting more and more man-comfortable saying that because there no denying that it’s true. Normally, I am not much of a soapy, chick-flick, mani-pedi kinda guy. I don’t spritz my wine, rarely eat quiche and have never had anything waxed (though the list of things that need it grows by the hour).
But I would walk across a desert in bloomers and a parasol to read Ms. Austen. Pride and Prejudice
is one of my all time favorite books and Sense and Sensibility is certainly up among the elite. Jane can absolutely bust me when she starts penning that snappy prose laced with all those sly, subtle, sarcastic phrases. She’s like prim and proper meets saucy and bossy.
I find it interesting that the "descriptions" of her books never seem very appealing to me before I begin them (I would direct your attention to the non chick-flick portion of my “I’m a Man Intro” above). For example, Sense and Sensibility is the story of two sisters, one emotionally reserved (to put it mildly) and proper and the other emotionally volatile and prone to disregard convention, as they struggle with life and relationships following the death of their father. Doesn’t it sound kinda Hallmark Networky? While I can appreciate that stuff, it doesn’t generally produce boat float with me.
However, the quality of the writing and the nuanced sassiness of the dialogue just warms my cockles and makes me prone to bouts of squealing. Her characterization, primarily the two sisters, but true for the rest of the cast as well, is so impeccably done that I keep expecting one of them to tap me on the shoulder as I’m reading…..don’t worry, none of them have yet but I’m still hoping.
Probably the most appealing aspect of Jane’s novels is the need for her intelligent, strong-willed female characters to move through the emotionally stifling requirements of “Victorian” society. So much of the charm of Jane’s writing revolves around the characters being forced to find an “acceptable” mode of expressing raw emotions when “bitch slapping”
and “Fuck offing”
just won’t do. I love watching the characters having to comport themselves so “correctly” as they explain to each other that they are going to ruin their families, steal their lovers, etc.
I love the roadblocks that the Victorian setting erects in the emotional road of the story and how effortlessly Jane navigates around them. She draws her characters feeling the deepest and rawest of emotions while having to maintain an outward appearance of dignity and respectability. The fact that she is able to convey that crushing sense of emotion to the reader without depictions of expressive behavior is just another example of her boggle the mind brilliance.
Okay, the gush must end and here is as good a place as any. You should really read this one. It’s good. 5.0 to 5.5 STARS. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!
P.S. I listened to the audio version of this narrated by Juliet Stevenson and she was superb.