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January 28, 2016

Looking Back - Sense & Sensibility


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Fiction - Classic
Originally Published: 1811
1996 Barnes and Noble Books
Finished in January 1996
Rating:3/5 (Good)



Publisher's Blurb:

The first of Jane Austen's published novels, Sense and Sensibility portrays the life and loves of two starkly different sisters: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

The elder Elinor is the epitome of prudence, discretion, and self-control, while Marianne embodies emotion, openness, and enthusiasm. This contrast results in their attraction to men of vastly different characters--and sparks family and societal dramas that are played out around their contrasting romances.

Secrets, betrayals, and confessions soon complicate the story, whose goal is nothing less than the achievement of perfect happiness. Beyond the polar differences between the two sisters' characters lies the universal dilemma of balancing what we owe to other human beings and our own needs.

In this classic novel, Austen--the most insightful and, at the same time, most entertaining of novelists--demonstrates her gift for irony, which gives her portrayal of ordinary life the heft of profound drama. As in every great work of literature, the philosophical resolution of this one is ambiguous: It is for the reader to decide whether sense and sensibility have truly merged--if life and love can really coexist.

My Original Notes:

Read this for my newly created "Book Group" (Linda Thomas, Nancy Wood and myself). Started off slow, but eventually caught my interest. Similar to Edith Wharton (privileged upper class). Lots of thought spent on acquiring a husband of wealth and importance. Somewhat trivial, yet apparently accurate for the time. Sparked interest to now read Pride and Prejudice.

We had a wonderful, two-hour long discussion about the book. We all enjoyed it and are excited to see the new movie tonight!

My Current Thoughts:

I'm sure this will cause gasps from some of you, but I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of Jane Austen's books. As I recall, I struggled with this novel, preferring Edith Wharton's works to Austen's. I have no recollection of this book and while I know I saw the film (starring Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant), I still couldn't tell you what it's about.

Should I re-read it, now that 20 years have passed (and I am, hopefully, a more mature reader than I was back then) or should I simply watch the movie(s) and call it good? 

I didn't rate the book back in 1996, but given that it wasn't that remarkable, today I will give it an average rating.

12 comments:

  1. OK, I've probably told you that this is my favorite Austen book. I love it, but I mostly love Elinor Dashwood. Anyway, my opinion - watch the movie. One thing I like so much about the movie is that I think you can see that Emma Thompson (who wrote the screenplay) is a true Austen fan. And it's a good performance by Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon. Another interesting fact - Emma Thompson is married to Greg Wise, who played Willoughby in the movie. Thought that was interesting considering that's the character that Marianne was over-the-top in love with. Just a little S&S trivia. I need to watch the movie again.

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    1. I do remember enjoying the movie, but it's been far too long to remember, so I plan to watch it again. Maybe I'll be inspired to re-read the book after that. Who knows. :) I do love Emma Thompson, so I'm anxious to watch the film again. Seeing Alan Rickman is a big bonus. Thanks for the trivia tidbit about Thompson and Wise. :)

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  2. I don't like Austen or Wharton. ;<))

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    1. Really? ;) How about Cather?

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  3. I read S&S over twenty years ago - and (not surprisingly) can't remember much about it. It's not my favourite Austen book - that is Pride and Prejudice, which I read and re-read many times. My opinion is to re-read the book - or at least start to re-read it - rather than watch the movie as that way you'll get your own impressions uninfluenced by the performance and look of the actors. That's what I'm thinking of doing because I usually find a movie alters a book in one way or another.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I've read Pride and Prejudice, but I don't remember the details of that one, either! Since I've already seen S&S with Emma Thompson, I'll probably watch the film and then maybe I'll be inspired to re-read the book - or at least begin it again. Thanks for stopping by, Margaret! Hope all is well with you.

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  4. I think you'll be fine just watching the movie. If you feel like revisiting the story, The Three Weissmanns of Westport is a fun modern retelling... and I'm not usually fan of retellings.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I've had The Three Weissmanns of Westport on my TBR list for quite some time. Now I'm eager to give it a read!

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  5. I just watched the movie with my mom and am actually thinking of reading the book. I think you shouldn't re-read the book if it's really not calling you. And, why not watch the movie. Hugh Grant is very nice looking in that one :)

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    1. I just added the movie to my Netflix queue. I've already seen it, but it's been ages! Maybe then I'll decide to read the book a second time. Might be good on audio. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions!

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  6. I love the book and the movie. Love Emma Thompson but she really is too old to play Elinor. Still I watch it any time I get the chance. Still, my thought is, there are too many books to be read and I'm not sure I could be bothered ever again to reread a book I didn't like much in the first place. Because I tried that a couple of times in the past couple years and didn't particularly care for either of the books any more on a reread (although I perhaps had a greater appreciate for the art of them).

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    1. I have to agree with you, Lisa. If I didn't love the book when I read it for the first time, I doubt I'd enjoy it with a reread. There are far too many favorites that I'd rather read a second time, so I'll just skip this one and watch the movie. :)

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