Friday, May 22, 2015

Emma - Jane Austen

Totally not the edition that I read, but OH WELL.
I have a confession to make, friends. Emma is my least favourite Jane Austen book. By, like, a lot. There's just something about the character of Emma Woodhouse that perpetually rubs me up the wrong way. I felt this the first time I read the book way back in 1996, and unfortunately it still rings true today despite several rereads in the past 20 years. I'm aware that this is rather odd because Cher Horowitz is one of my favourite characters to ever grace the teen movie screen, but there you have it.

I can't even pinpoint exactly what it is about Emma that makes me dislike her so much. She means well, yes, but that doesn't fix the fact that she's often condescending and snobbish. She's so bored by her own life that she feels the need to meddle in the lives of others, with potentially disastrous circumstances. She pushes Harriet towards Mr. Elton, who's obviously never going to marry the daughter of nobody-in-particular, she's generally awful to Miss Bates, and she behaves horrifically towards Jane Fairfax time and time again.

Admittedly, she's not the only guilty party where this last one is concerned. Frank Churchill is equally abhorrent to me. I mean, DUDE. You're madly in love with Jane, but you're badmouthing her to Emma whenever all three of you are in the same room to hide the fact that you're madly in love? What the hell?! Nothing about that is okay.

Look, don't get me wrong. It's full of humour and wit - I think my favourite line that I came across was this: "Emma's very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to have his hair cut." It's utterly ridiculous and reminds the reader that if Frank Churchill lived in the twenty first century, he'd be an obnoxious hipster who trekked half way across the city on his fixed gear bike to get a bag of that stupid coffee that's been pooped out by a civet.

At the end of the day, it's Austen. And that means fabulous writing and fun characters and a happily ever after. But when I didn't like Emma herself, and I found Mr Knightly as interesting as watching paint dry, this book was never really going to be a hit with me...

Maybe I'll reread it AGAIN in a couple of years and find a new appreciation for it. But given that my meh-tastic feelings about this book have been around for nearly 20 years, I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll just stick to watching Clueless...

Have you read Emma? What did you think?

K xx

10 comments:

  1. I've read this when I was at uni and I know I had a difficult time with it in the beginning but after being about halfway through it, got way more into the story and ended up liking it a lot. Of course that was a couple of years ago and who knows how I'd feel about this story now.

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  2. Emma is certainly not my favorite Austen novel, but I do enjoy it. And honestly, I love Knightley. He's one of my favorite Austen heroes.

    Did you watch Emma Approved? If so, I'm curious what your thoughts were on the portrayal of the characters in that adaptation.

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  3. same. Emma is my least favourite. What's is your favourite Austen?

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  4. Love this! Very interesting and informative.

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  5. I made it through about six episodes of Emma Approved before I rage-quit. I couldn't stand Emma to the point where I was ready to throw my laptop across the room.

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  6. I feel awful because I know so many people who absolutely adore it and say it's their favourite Austen book. But I just...NOPE.

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  7. Don't worry, it's not my favourite. And I don't like Persuasion or Sense and Sensibility...soooo.

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  8. Oh, that makes me sad, because Emma Approved really is quite lovely. But I guess that may be because I actually do enjoy the book Emma.

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