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Recommended but not outstanding
le 9 mars 2004
As good as this book is, it is slow to start does not really pick up until after the 150 pages or so. But stick with it. However, those looking for an introduction to Jane Austen might be better suited with faster paced Pride & Prejudice and gradually make your way toward this one.
Two things that I liked very much about this book. The lead character is a likable but strong willed heroine with fixed ideas and the author is not afraid to use that to a disadvantage. Emma is flawed and it makes her interesting to read. Also, you get a stronger sense of community in a small victorian town and how they relied on one another found here than any of her other works that I have read. It's a very charming enjoyable aspect that works in the books favor. As far as premise goes, this is one of the more cohesive and linear of Austen's works and I can see the reason why this has been this has been adapted to film and stage so many times.
What I liked about Bantams edition was there was no droll introduction or afterward by a scholar indicating why the book and author are important and lets the work speak for itself. What they did have was useful footnotes when the characters were referencing now obscure objects, writers and poets making the book more accessible.
But as well as the book starting slowly, the other problem I had was that I found myself not emotionally investing in the characters. Emma is likeable, as stated before, but that was about it. Despite her appeal, she has no impact. Same goes with everyone else save for Miss Bates. The town spinster had me in stitches with her rambling monologues and sweet nature. When someone picks on her, it does make an impact.
A nice story, just not a great one. Outside of the reservations mentioned, I'm glad I read it and recommend it.