Monday, June 20, 2011



“The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made.” Emma Woodhouse (Emma 1996)

Yes, that quote is from the movie but I personally can never think of the book without remembering the 1996 rendition.  
It probably has something to do with the fact that I saw the movie before reading the book.  Naughty, naughty, I know.

But I’ve always needed a little convincing when it comes to Austen.

I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice until just a year ago, and since then I’ve slowly got around to meeting Jane’s other heroines. 

Emma is my favourite (well, so far anyhow).  She is so silly and yet so likeable.  Short sighted but clever.  Calm and capable.
I think match-making is ridiculous and maybe Jane did too, and that’s why she wrote this book.

Since my beginnings in Austen (don’t ask me why I keep switching from ‘Jane’ to ‘Austen’ – you know who I mean) I’ve picked up a few ‘Jane Austen for Dummies’ books from the library.  I must be beyond a dummy because I can never get through all the explanations for this and that, and all the supposed ulterior meanings behind Austen’s stories.  

So I’m supposing that there are supposed meanings behind Emma because
a) clever novelists always imply more than they say (I think)
b) Jane Austen was a clever novelist because she got published in a clever way (I think)
c) sometimes I don’t even understand what is going on when characters sweep out of rooms and jump out of corners looking guilty.  Or make bitingly polite insults in each other’s faces.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m sure I have no idea what I’m talking about when I review Emma from a technical point of view, so I’m just going to keep it personal.  I hope you like it personal.

Keeping it personal means ditching all the little sections I’ve had for my other Fiction Blitz reviews.  I’m sure you have ALL read Emma over twenty times since you turned 14, or maybe had to study it for English Lit.  If not you should borrow it from the library, or pick up a copy from your local bookshop (if they don’t have it you should berate the manager for not stocking one of the most superior classics of all time). 
For some reason, in this post about the book Emma I have succeeded in mentioning nothing about the contents of the book itself – so much for a review.

Well, I wouldn't want to leave you with nothing.  Since I'm feeling a little bit trippy tonight, how about a little list.

'The Mouse's List of Obnoxious Reasons for Liking Emma'

I have a head cold.  ‘Nuff said.

1. When talking or writing about Emma one will always confuse Emma with Emma.  I could say that I enjoyed Emma but found Emma a little annoying.  Or Emma truly was the star of Emma even though the backing characters really made the story.  After reading Emma I feel that Emma will always be with me. 

2. A book full of silly characters always makes me feel better about myself.     

3. Mr Knightley is suitably awe-inspiring and wise.  He would make me feel small the way he always gets things right (Mr Elton doesn't like Harriet, Emma.  Open your eyes.)  But then he falls on his knees in the end and apologises (unnecessarily)  Go Emma!  You showed him who's boss.  Now quick!  Marry him!

4. Annoying characters who conveniently gabble on (hello Miss Bates), and in doing so enlighten a confused reader who has missed something.

5.  Frank Churchill's hair cut - the world's most random excuse.

6. This quote:  "I do not know whether it ought to be so, but certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." (Emma to Mr. Knightley) It just sums up the laughable side of Emma - both the entire book and our favourite match-maker.

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