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Sense and Sensibility

by

Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility
average rating is 4 out of 5

Classics, Romance

R. Alex Jenkins

This book is the epitome of why I can’t rate Jane Austen as highly as some of my peers do. It starts off well, has amazing character building and dialogue and then falls off a cliff.


I have read Pride and Prejudice three times and still rate it the pièce de resistance of classic literature, which is why I decided to read all of Jane Austen’s books until I finally gave up after Persuasion (book 5). A year has gone by and I still haven’t tackled Northanger Abbey (book 6).


So, why the downtrend in my opinion?


A. Pride and Prejudice is so good, nothing can live up to that standard.


B. Sense and Sensibility is a really good book until it decides not to be. Jane Austen backs down for the sake of good taste, so that everything works out in the end.


C. Life doesn’t work like that. 200 years ago, women in the upper echelons of society would trade happiness for status and money, rarely risking drops in standard, nearly always going for the safe choice out of propriety and moral decency. That’s a bit boring these days as a novel.


D. Maybe I’m a romantic fan at heart who likes to see maidens run off with their true loves, swashbuckling into the sunset.


The reality is, I don’t believe Jane Austen. I think she gave up. Backed down when things could have got really interesting. She didn’t give me what I wanted as a reader. Think of Madame Bovary, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, or even King Lear; they all have interesting endings, even Jane Eyre gives us lovey-dovey satisfaction, but Sense and Sensibility backs down for convenience and good taste.

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