Review: Sense and Sensibility

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Hello! I finally finished reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, her first published novel in 1811. Honestly, I found it a bit slow at first. The first several chapters focused on describing the characters and settings and lacked dialogue. I’d say that out of the four Jane Austen novels I’ve read (Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and now Sense and Sensibility) this one has been the most descriptive of them all. By all means, description is good because it allows you to visualize everything clearer, but all the action is centered in the last quarter of the novel.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article written by an English professor, explaining why she doesn’t like Jane Austen. At first, I was astonished. Given Austen’s popularity, I thought everyone enjoyed her books. Then I was even more surprised to find out Charlotte Brontë and other famous writers didn’t like Austen’s work either. And as I was reading Sense and Sensibility, I grasped why they didn’t enjoy her work but at the same time, it made me realize that regardless of other people’s opinion, Jane Austen will always be one of my favorite authors. She provides entertainment and can transfer you automatically to the heroine’s world, being mostly a middle-class girl in her late teens surviving love and heartbreaks in the early 1800s.

In case you haven’t read Sense and Sensibility before, here’s a brief summary: after the death of her husband, Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters are forced to move from Norland Park to Barton Park, where they start making regular visits to their closest neighbors (Lady Middleton and Sir John) and end up establishing a friendship with them. Later, Mrs. Jennings (Lady Middleton’s mother) invites the two eldest Dashwood sisters (Elinor and Marianne) to spend some weeks with her in London. Both girls hope to encounter the boys with whom they’ve been talking to, secretly wishing for those bonds to become some sort of formal engagement. Most of the plot is set in London, where Elinor and Marianne become intertwined in gossip — apparently, these guys are already in love with other girls. But are all the rumors true? That’s your job to find out, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

The story had some touching moments, I sympathized with Marianne — even in the 21st century, some men are still selfish jerks. As for Elinor, I felt completely identified with her, she has a personality that’s very similar to mine, it was both eerie and comforting knowing that I’m not the only one. But then there were many witty and laugh-provoking moments. Austen once again did an excellent job turning the mundane to amusing.

I’d rather not rate this novel, I loved it but at the same time I’m very aware that it wasn’t perfect. But if I had to give it a rating, I’d say it lies somewhere between 3.5 and 4. If the plot climax had started a bit earlier, I’d give it a 5.

‘Til next time!


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