BOOK REVIEW (30): Sense & Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility
All right, I’ll preface this review by saying I had no plans to read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. And to be fair to Ms. Austen, I didn’t plan to read any books at all. I was deep in the throes of starting my NoWriMo August project and after that first grueling week where things were new and I really dreaded opening the word doc I was glad to be able to take a break from my story world and jump into another’s.
So it was a blind choice from the book shelf. I just grabbed something from my TBR pile and it happened to be this book—yay!
From that enthusiastic exclamation you can probably tell which direction this review is heading…
I had no regrets reading Sense and Sensibility.
I watched the British miniseries 3 years ago and after reading the book I don’t feel like it ruined it. I definitely liked the book more than the show, but for those who don’t want to read the book then the show is another medium to be entertained by the dramatic plot.

Can you guess which is Elinor? Think stern, stiff, and no-nonsense.


Anyways I enjoyed my time with the two Dashwood sisters and their beaus. I figured out perhaps why people like reading Austen’s stories. She’s got a knack for capturing people’s social quirks. The situations minus the social milieu could, IMO, fit quite easily in our modern North American context.

I had a huge crush on Colonel Brandon, but he was really a broody sop and his choice of love interest kinda killed that crush early. Mrs. Jennings was hilarious and she was really a good part of the reason I’d keep coming back. And I did cry once–so I wasn’t resistant to the plot and conflict entirely. I won’t say where or why, just know that I cried.

However I didn’t give it a full five rating because it didn’t exude the ‘wow’ factor from me. There were some things I didn’t like, and I warn for SPOILERS here:
1)      Elinor Dashwood: one of the main characters in Sense and Sensibility was annoying to follow. The theme—or one thematic thread—in the novel is senses and sensibility and the difference between engaging these two approaches in life, but more particularly in the social world. Elinor uses her head, and her sister, Marianne, in contrast uses her heart. “Sense” v.s. “sensibility” and in the end sense seems to have won, but there’s a bit of leeway towards sensibility. It took a painfully long time for Elinor to kind of really want what she wanted, but it’s never really expressed in the pages. Essentially I don’t feel like she deserved her ending. She was spoon-fed really and though I’m not sure whether Austen herself might to comment on her character, I think Elinor is kinda 2d, flat and throughout the story to the end she doesn’t develop as a character.
2)    The whole Edward-Lucy engagement: stupid, stupid, stupid. I mean I wanted to chuck the book and walk away, but the whole story of these two was unravelled in the third last chapter and I kinda just wanted to finish the story. But it was just dumb. REALLY contrived resolution. And this point connects back to what I said about Elinor’s personality. How could she accept Edward’s excuse?!
3)     The romantic ending. Ugh, ahh—but I don’t know what I expected. Nothing else, yet it was awful to read. I cringed. Everything was in apple pie order. I can’t say much about this because the plot was building towards this resolution, and it would have been spectacularly weird if the author had just killed off all her characters or something.
To be honest though, I would have loved if Marianne had died. How might have the story changed?
FUN FACT: Author Stephenie Meyer referenced Edward Ferrars as being one of the reasons supporting her choice to name Twilight’s vampire hero.
My verdict:

(3.5 stars)

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