Emma by Jane Austen
Published by Vintage on June 16th, 2014 (first published December 23rd, 1815)
Genres: Classics, Romance
“You must be the best judge of your own happiness.”
Before everything shut down and everybody was engaging in social distancing, I got to watch the latest adaptation of Emma for free. Thanks, Cineplex!
I have to say that I enjoyed it very much and it motivated me to continue my goal of reading all of Jane Austen’s work before the end of the year. After I finish each book, I’ll treat myself to watching the movie or TV adaptation.
Emma Woodhouse is a young, rich, and independent woman. She has decided to forgo marriage and instead spreads her time organizing her acquaintances’ love affairs.
Her plans for matrimonial success of her new friend Harriet, however, lead her into a complicated rabbit hole that ultimately tests her own detachment from the world of romance.
Right off the bat, I had so much fun enjoyed reading this book. How come I don’t read more classics?! I seriously need to get better about that. However, I will say that this is now staunchly in second place for favourite Austen novels. It’s quite possible that once I’m done reading all her work, Pride and Prejudice will still be my number one.
Throughout the book, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would ever get to the point where I actually liked Emma as a character. It’s a testament to Austen’s writing that I did eventually get there. Just near the very end.
But for what it’s worth, Emma is a compelling character. She can be extremely selfish and unlikeable, but you can tell she’s not an evil or despicable person. Her actions do come from a good place, but are just often misplaced.
She’s definitely not perfect, she has her fair share of flaws, but it’s an added layer of interest when her character is of significant social standing compared to the Bennetts in Pride and Prejudice. The classicism in the world of Emma made her actions that more annoying. She’s refreshingly realistic and I enjoyed her journey through her mishaps and victories.
I think the funniest part about Emma is that she doesn’t actually have a high success rate in matchmaking, but here she is anyway. She’s unflappably confident in her own abilities. And that’s the energy we need moving forward in real life and in fiction for women.
But what made the book a four bubble tea read for me was the side characters. I found them to be too outrageous.
I think we find some hilarious and absurd characters in Pride and Prejudice, where Austen doesn’t go overboard. Mr. and Mrs. Bennett are just the right amount of silly. Side note: I’m sorry I keep referencing P&P, but it’s the only other Austen novel I can compare it to!
I found Miss Bates, Mr. Woodhouse, Mrs. Elton, and Frank Churchill to be insufferable. I will admit that I did skim the parts when one of them would start ranting. I’d much prefer reading more about Emma’s antics.
But the one thing Emma has over Pride and Prejudice? I love Mr. John Knightley. Here I am, proclaiming my love for him over Mr. Darcy.
If you’re going through Austen’s work, I wouldn’t skip over Emma. It was funny, heart-warming, silly, and filled with romantic love that goes sideways before finding the right side up.I find Eall her mishaps a