Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sense & Sensibility- Jane Austen

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1811
Pages:  336 (excluding appendices)
ISBN:  9781593080495
Genre:  Classic

Started:  Sept. 14, 2011
Finished:  Sept. 27, 2011 (14 days)

Where Found:  Book Depot (I have the edition pictured here, but I really love the Penguin Classic hardcover edition I've linked to at Amazon--they've been on sale at Chapters lately and it would match my edition of Emma and close enough to Pride & Prejudice.  *Thus ends the rant*)

Why Read:  I enjoyed P&P and was in the mood for a proper civilized romance novel.

Summary:  In the English countryside, sisters Elinor and Marianne struggle to solidify their relationships with the men they love...but first they must understand who it is they actually do love.


This book surprised me in so many ways.  For starters, it's the most suspenseful romance story of its time or even among contemporary books not of the thriller genre.  Just when things are looking clear-cut, a new twist occurs, turning the whole story around several times before reaching a pleasant, though tidy conclusion.

Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are sweet, lovable characters that you want every happiness for, except neither truly knows what will make them happy, or rather who will make them happiest.  Col. Brandon is by far the most likable character--loyal, sincere, and genteel, regardless of misguided rumours surrounding his personal life.  Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are a hoot to read about, being such complete opposites you wonder what the mutual attraction is.  Unfortunately the two main male love interests, Edward and Willoughby, are not so enjoyable--I found Edward to be just plain uninteresting, (though I thought his reaction to Elinor's question near the end was one of the best reactions and lines of dialogue in the novel) and Willoughby, you will learn soon enough, is far from sympathetic and comes across as an immature rat.

Austen's humour and criticism of social dynamics is much more explicit in Sense & Sensibility, whereas Pride & Prejudice makes us read between the lines to find subtle hints of the same nature.  The styles are similar and even the storyline is familiar, if a bit more risque with a small but more complex set of characters.  You may disagree, but I actually found myself more taken with Sense & Sensibility than Pride & Prejudice.  Some day, I would love to re-read P&P, especially now that I'm more familiar with Austen's style.

What stops the novel shy of an A+ for me is the slim details of the ending.  I'm not aware of the history behind the novel's publication, but it ended so abruptly it was as if Austen was under pressure to submit it or was under a page count restriction.  I definitely could have done without Willoughby's exasperating speech near the end and seen more of the Dashwood sisters' romantic couplings which are held in suspense for a great majority of the novel, only to come together within the last ten or so pages!

Emma Thompson adapted the novel into an Oscar-winning screenplay for the 1995 film adaptation, also starring as Elinor with Kate Winslet as Marianne, Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars, and Greg Wise as Willoughby.  I haven't seen it yet but it looks fantastic :)

Update:  I have seen the movie now and absolutely loved it.  The script is loyal to the book but Emma Thompson's own touches and the purposeful, gentle direction of Ang Lee makes it a wonderful viewing experience.

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend


  1. I love this book. My sister and I are a lot like the Dashwoods. I tend to be the more logical Elinor, so this one hit home for me. I also have to tell you that the movie is amazing. I hope you get a chance to watch it soon. It's one of my favorites!

  2. You sound like me, trying to get familiar with Austen's style one book at a time. I also read P&P before S&S but I still think I liked P&P better. The movies for both are excellent!

    Next time I'm in the mood for some Austen I'll give Persuasion a try.

  3. This is one of my favorite novels. I love the rushed, undetailed quality of the book's ending. I am guessing that Austen was mocking her readers' expectations when she slapped together an ending like this -- mostly because of the way she pretty much says she slaps together happy endings in the ending of Northanger Abbey. I love her for it. She's "giving 'em what they want" with a dose of irony. :)