Jun 4, 2015

Emma, by Jane Austen

To prepare for this review, I rewatched Clueless. Oh, you didn't know that Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, was a modern retelling of "Emma?" Don't worry, very few people do. But having now read the book, it's an astoundingly faithful rendition, shone pretty brilliantly through a satire of 1990s culture. But enough about Clueless (which is on Netflix instant play, should this review inspire a Clueless craving).

"Emma" is the second Austen book I've read, and while I enjoyed it, it's awfully long. Four hundred pages is a lot of 18th century English to wade through, and the story is very slow to develop. I suppose that at the time it was written, people had much more reading time and the longer the book, the more hours of entertainment it could provide. Now it's a bit of a slog. The characters are exceedingly well fleshed out, to the point where I could have done with less of their monologues. But it's a cute story nonetheless: the precocious and beautiful Emma, determined to remain unmarried her whole life in devotion to her anxious father, instead tries to match others. She matches terribly, much awkwardness ensues, and the Highbury society is set all in a tizzy. She's a sweet character and it's a sweet book, I just would have been happier if Miss Austen had written a tad less of it.

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