Barnes & Noble Classics
Oct 2004 (Originally published 1811)
Format: Hardcover, 312 pages
Source: Personal copy
Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility is a wonderfully entertaining tale of flirtation and folly that revolves around two starkly different sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. While Elinor is thoughtful, considerate, and calm, her younger sister is emotional and wildly romantic. Both are looking for a husband, but neither Elinor’s reason nor Marianne’s passion can lead them to perfect happiness—as Marianne falls for an unscrupulous rascal and Elinor becomes attached to a man who’s already engaged.
Startling secrets, unexpected twists, and heartless betrayals interrupt the marriage games that follow. Filled with satiric wit and subtle characterizations, Sense and Sensibility teaches that true love requires a balance of reason and emotion.
My thoughts: One of my reading goals this year was to read a few of the classics I have never read before, and some of Jane Austen's books are on that list. A while back I picked up a bunch of nice hard cover classics from Barnes and Noble, including 6 of Austen's works. Since I've read Pride & Prejudice three times already, I felt it was time to try out her other books and I started with Sense & Sensibility.
One thing to note if you've never read Jane Austen - her books are definitely not quick reads. But, the stories themselves are timeless. In the case of this book, we have two sisters who want nothing more than to find a good marriage for themselves. Elinor is the practical one, willing to give each action careful consideration. Marianne, on the other hand, leads with her heart. The book follows as the two sisters learn all about love and even loss. What's interesting to me is that not only is this pretty much the girls' sole mission in life, but it also becomes everyone else's business, too. How much money a potential interest has and their standing in life is the criteria that most look to when choosing a mate and it seems everyone has their opinion as to who is a better match.
What I think I love most about these types of books is learning about the etiquette of the day. The customs of daily life just seem so foreign to us today. The whole idea of sending notes is almost obsolete thanks to email and texting! Also, girls were not supposed to exchange letters with a man unless they were engaged to him. Then there's the whole idea that girls were not really educated nor expected to have any sort of profession.
I enjoyed reading this and now am anxious to see the film adaption. I've heard the version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson is one of the best, so will be looking to find that one. I do foresee rereading this at some point, definitely, though, after reading Jane Austen's other books.
Do you have a favorite Jane Austen book?