“Disclaimer”: Sorry about the delay between posts. I’m actually several books behind, blogging-wise. The holidays are just a crazy busy time, especially when you have two transatlantic flights and three Christmases in just ten days.

I did it.

I finished Emma.

It was a struggle.

I think I need to get to the bottom of my deep hatred for Jane Austen. I don’t understand why I don’t like her. I don’t get why I didn’t like Emma.

The characters are hilarious. I should have been amused with Miss Bates and Mr. Woodhouse. Mr. Woodhouse’s constant fussing and terror at being chilled or going out in the evening or, really, leaving home should be amusing. And I could just see the other characters rolling their eyes and trying to tune Miss Bates out when she rambled on and on (I should mention that I skimmed a lot of those speeches).

But for some reason I just didn’t like Emma. I don’t know if it’s Austen’s writing style that bothers me, or if I just really am not interested in Victorian women and social structures, but I couldn’t get into it.

Maybe it’s because I thought that finally I was going to find a female Austen character that I could relate to. It seems like they’re all the “I’m a different sort of young woman but someday, somehow, there will be a husband for me anyway.” They all get married. They all wind up settling down and becoming Mrs. Somebodies.

Emma seemed strong-willed enough in the beginning that I thought that maybe, just maybe, she actually wasn’t going to get married. She said she wasn’t the sort of woman to fall in love herself (which, I imagine, is why she focused so much on matchmaking for OTHER people). She had that whole thing where she was all, “I’m not the sort of woman to fall in love and I am CERTAINLY not going to get MARRIED, EVER.” It made me happy because that’s how I feel.

I especially related to how she felt about Frank Churchill, when she thought that maybe she liked him or possibly “loved” him, but really, it didn’t HAVE to be that different from friendship. That’s how I feel about pretty much every guy I’ve ever “liked” or “been involved with.”

But then, of course, the “right” guy comes along and suddenly it’s ALL about marriage and it turns out that she loved him after all and isn’t that great? NO. It’s not. Just once couldn’t the heroine NOT have to “fall in love” and get married?

Maybe it’s just my cynicism or my early-20-something “I have way too much to do to settle down and get married” mentality, but I would have appreciated Emma a lot more if she could have been just a bit different.

Rating: ***
Up Next*: Heart of Darkness

*But already finished…


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