Do you love Jane Austen or want to “dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone”? (Phrase borrowed from Mark Twain).
1. Why? (for either answer)?
2. Favorite and/or least favorite Austen novel?
Yes! I definitely fall in the love category with Austen. Since reading Pride & Prejudice for the first time 10 years ago I have been a big Austen fan. I’ve read all of her novels, most of them multiple times. Her work is so clever and I gain something new every single time I read it. She manages to talk about the social customs of her time in an objective way. She pokes fun at outdated traditions and allows her characters to buck the social norms. She created some of the most memorable characters is all of literature (Mr. Darcy!). She infuses even the most serious of stories with humor. Her work has been loved for centuries. She has inspired so many film versions of her stories, including Clueless, the modern-day version of Emma and the infamous and wonderful BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.
2) My favorite Austen novel has always been Persuasion. While I adore the others, Persuasion has a maturity that gives the romance much more depth. There is no love at first sight here, instead it’s a love that has weathered time and opposition. It’s about a woman realizing she has to stand up for herself in order to find happiness. It’s about finding the strength to say no to the people who don’t have your best interest at heart. And that letter! Oh my gosh, that’s enough to make it my favorite all by itself.
My least favorite is Mansfield Park. I’m planning to re-read this soon to see if my opinion has changed, but right now it’s definitely my least favorite. The most common complaint about the book is that the heroine is just too good. It’s hard to relate to someone who seems to have no faults. Also, I never really felt the spark between the heroine and the man she ends up with (don’t worry, no spoilers).