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Persuasion — Jane Austen

My first foray into a Jane Austen novel but not for class. I am proud of myself for that. I hope you don’t mind the somewhat disjointed rambling as I tell you how amazing I though the novel was. 

This was a strange mixture of feelings as I started into this book. It’s not often that I come across characters that I hate so much. No, I don’t mean dislike. I mean hate. Anne Elliot’s family was totally rude and I wished I could throw them into the Game of Throne’s books because then there’s at least a chance that at least one of them would die. Trust me when I say that isn’t a common experience for me because normally I don’t want my book characters harmed. 

However, the nice thing, and probably the only nice thing about a cast of characters this alarming, was that it was easier to relate to Anne (not that I’ve ever been a position as bad as hers). I wanted to be her friend in real life and be able to give her a hug and tell her that it would all be okay. That her family was comprised of jerks and so forth. 

Then there’s Wentworth. I really need my own real life version of him. One of the great things of this novel was him and Anne learning to be around each other again. Awkward makes for great, if not hilarious, novels. This novel was definitely one of them. 

Even better was that none of her family, or his, knew about their past. It made all that awkward goodness even better because no one understood, or possibly even cared to even if they noticed. I questioned at first “How the heck did no one know?” – Then realized her family was too self-absorbed to care. And his sister and brother-in-law had been out of contact with him for long enough to not know his personal life. 

And if you don’t know about the letter… I feel for you. I love that freaking letter. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and it’s when Wentworth won me over for good, even though he already had. I’m not going to put it up here because then spoilers. If you want to know how amazing it is, read the book or look it up on youtube. 

Shockingly, none of this was the best part of the novel for me. No, the best part of the novel came in the form of a one sentence paragraph that had me laughing for minutes and even now just thinking about that quote makes me burst into laughter. The quote: 

“he had in fact, though his sisters were now doing all they could for him, by calling him ‘poor Richard,’ been nothing more than a thickheaded, unfeeling, unprofitable Dick Musgrove, who had never anything to entitle himself to more than the abbreviation of his name, living or dead.”

It seems strange that I would find a quote like this utterly hilarious. But the way my brain took this, it came off as the funniest thin alive. First of all, Dick as a nickname in the 1800s? Who knew? it shocked me. Followed by: How pissed off must have Jane Austen been to write such a line. if you look at the words and read them right, it sounds like Jane Austen was mad as all get out when she wrote the line, and it shows. 

*Now for the Movie* 

I have only been able to find the 2007 version. It is the best version? No. Is it even good? Ehhh… somewhat. It was nice being able to see these characters that I was reading about come alive to some measure on a screen. 

My favorite part of the movie was seeing awkward at it’s best. The woman who played Anne Elliot made her look like a nervous train wreck who could do nothing about her irresponsible family. It was brought out time and time again as her family forgot that she was a part of it and as she had to get used to being around Wentworth again. 

That’s about the only thing the movie did right, besides the letter.  

  • Mrs. Smith was crippled in the book as far as I could tell. In the movie she certainly wasn’t. 
  • The cousin Elliot was far more scary in the novel. 
  • The Elliots were much more pompous in the novel. It barely came off in the movie. Still didn’t like them much. 
  • Certain plot changes had me cringing as I tried to figure out what had been moved around from book to movie. Makes life harder, I say. 

Yes, I’m a believer that books are generally better. However, the movie adaptation is nice for when I don’t feel like reading, because sometimes that happens. 

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