Emma was my book of choice this year for August in August. I got a head start on this one and began reading in June. You people who can read multiple Jane Austen books in one month impress me and I applaud you for your literary skills.
Let us look upon the lovely edition of Emma that I won during Austen in August 2015. This copy is published by the Folio Society and they gave away two of these babies that year. (I’m hoping to see Folio Society again on a giveaway post this year.) I must admit that I only read this one a little bit. I scanned the illustrations and read some of it, but mostly it’s job is to sit on the top shelf of my living room bookshelf with my other special books and look beautiful. I mainly read from my kindle and listened to the audible production.
I enjoyed Emma. She was smart, but not wise. She was pleasant and clever and charming but she couldn’t see the truth right in front of her face. She was a meddler and caused trouble for her friend and sometimes others. She was a little bit stuck up but I believe she was just a product of her environment and her heart was almost always in the right place, even if her brain wasn’t. She was a loving and devoted daughter and that was admirable. Her commitment to her father’s welfare, mood and happiness, even when it affected her own, was commendable.
Let’s talk about a few characters:
Mr. George Knightley
He is Emma’s brother-in-law and he is a close friend of the family.
Emma’s friendship with Mr. Knightley was, to me, the best part and when they argued it endeared me to him even more. Their relationship was platonic and casual and so genuine that if I didn’t already know how it would all turn out, I might not have suspected it. Truly, he was like a big brother to her but in that way I guess it is good for you to love someone that you know so completely.
Miss Harriett Smith:
She is Emma’s friend and mentoring “project”.
I would have been pretty disappointed and might have thought Miss Austen to be heartless if she didn’t right the things that went wrong with Harriett Smith. She was a doll and she lost precious time with her true love because Emma thought she knew better than her. Harriett was a little sappy and wimpy and entirely too dependent on Emma’s opinions but overall she was a sweet character who’s biggest troubles came from her so-called “friend”….
Ya’ll, I like to talk and sometimes I worry about dominating a conversation when I’m with a group of friends because extroverts can tend to do that but my word…I hope I am never considered to be like Miss Bates. She was a middle aged, single woman that knew Emma all her life. She was a sweet character but either her nerves or her general personality kept her from knowing when to just shut-up. Ugh…she went on and on and on. And sometimes it was humorous and sometimes, especially when I was listening to the audio, it was super annoying and I just rolled my eyes. The narrator on audible, Juliet Stevenson, did a phenomenal job playing her. Because her life was not conventional or typical in the sense that she wasn’t married or rich, Emma was sometimes unkind to her and Mr. Knightey called her out on it. “Badly done, Emma!”
Emma’s father. He was a whiny, needy man. Mr. Knightley respected him and Emma adored him.
There are many other characters and there are plot twists and turns. Emma is an enjoyable read and so different from my last Austen book, Sense and Sensibility. The only thing that disappointed me in Emma was the abbreviated content from the long-awaited Ball. I wanted to read more about it, maybe see some drama or have more description of the dinner. In my memory nothing really special happened in that scene and then it was just kind of…over.
Of course I am thinking of watching the movie now. Any suggestion for which one is best? I’m thinking about the one with Gwyneth Paltrow but only because Alan Cumming plays Mr. Elton. I’d rather see him play Frank Churchill to be honest. There is also the BBC version and I’m a little more interested in that one. What do you say? Let me know in the comments.
I shall leave you now, so as not to be another Miss Bates.
I really enjoyed my experience reading ‘Emma’ and plan to get my own review up in the next few days. There were so many memorable characters, and I agree with your assessment of the main character. Despite not seeing what was right in front of her and perhaps being a bit snobbish, her heart was in the right place. Great review!
Thanks so much Joel! I look forward to reading your review as well!