Monday, September 14, 2009

Review of Persuasion

One of the things you've got to love (or hate) about Jane Austen is that, for the most part, you know what you're going to get when you pick up one of her books. Sometimes there's something to be said for predictability with authors -- it's like a kind comfort food. It's nice to know that there is something out there that will make you feel good, fill you up, and leave you with a smile on your face when you're done, even if it's not the most delicious meal you've ever had. For some, that's macaroni and cheese, for me, it's Jane Austen.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot, the oldest of three sisters who is teetering on the edge of spinsterhood at the ripe old age of 26. Anne was once engaged to marry Captain Frederick Wentworth, but her friend and confident, Lady Russell, persuaded her that he was not the right match and the agreement was ended. Eight years later, Anne is still unmarried and wondering if she made the wrong choice when Captain Wentworth comes back into her life.

And the rest is typical Jane Austen: for several chapters there are miscommunications, misunderstandings, and a few dramatic moments when it looks like Anne will end up with the wrong guy and Captain Wentworth will end up with the wrong gal, but then...ta da! All ends well and everyone ends up with the person they were supposed to be with. That being said, Persuasion was actually my favorite Austen read so far - I found the characters to be more interesting and multi-faceted then usual (despite the predicably facile younger sisters and absurdly vain father) - and there were a couple of twists and turns that did leave me guessing. I was transported back to early 19th Century English society, and found myself smiling from start to finish.

Ah...felt so good, just like mac n' cheese.



Redwing said...

Finally! Someone else who has read this book. I'm one of those rare guys who actually like JA books. P&P is in my top 6. I should also mention that I am an English teacher.

Good review. I loved this book enough to name my first sailboat Persuasion. It's a good name for a boat (I like one word boat names). It has a captain in it. And it's about waiting for the right thing to come along. Or re-come along.

beemused said...

thanks for the positive review. the only JA I've read was P&P, which I really enjoyed. and I recently found Persuasion (or was it Emma? ;-) at the thrift shop for a buck, so will probably look into reading it this winter!