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, January 4, 2012

Emma- Jane Austen

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1815 (mine is the Penguin Classics hardcover edition pictured here)
Pages:  474
ISBN:  9780141192475
Genre:  Classics

Started:  Dec. 14, 2011
Finished:  Dec. 24, 2011 (11 days)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  I love Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, so when I spotted this copy (on sale to boot!), I snatched it up.

Summary:  A young lady successful (for the most part) at matchmaking struggles to settle conflicts interfering with her own love life.


Jane Austen is definitely master of the genre comedy of manners.  She is able to weave together complex social dramas with tongue permanently implanted in cheek.  Formalities and niceties aside, there are glimpses of social situations that are just as sticky to be caught in now as they were then.

Unlike Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, I wasn't taken with any particular character in Emma but the story is fun and lively.  I found Emma very self-involved, and not very reliable or sympathetic, whereas the turmoils of Elinor & Marianne Dashwood and Elizabeth Bennet were at the heart of the other two novels.  Oh, Knightley...I wish there had been more of him!   He was a sweet, decent character, and I liked him better than Edward Ferrars (not as stuffy) but not quite as much as Mr. Darcy or Col. Brandon.  There is always a secondary character that provides comic relief from the tense romantic plot, and in Emma, it's the bubbly, constantly talkative Miss Bates, who is just hilarious, especially how she describes everything she notices as they walk from the front door to the dining room of the Woodhouse estate, including warning the person just behind her that there is a step down from the floor!

The best moments of Emma are where mistakes are either made or fixed surrounding a person's demeanor, and the humour comes from the extremities between what was once thought and what is actually true.  Judgment, especially about a person's physical appearance, behaviour, or past, is a recurring theme in Austen's novels, and it is especially important in Emma.

Not the best of Jane Austen, but an enjoyable romp.  Dive in and enjoy :)

Some memorable quotations:

"What did she say?  Just what she ought of course.  A lady always does."

"And with all her advantages, natural and domestic, she was now in great danger of suffering from intellectual solitude."

"Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken."

Rank:  (B)- Good, Recommend


  1. I still haven't read an Austen book. I will this year though. Actually, I started P & P on my Kindle. It was a free version and about halfway through, I realized that several chapters were skipped. I went back but they simply were not there! A defective edition! Well, I sure as heck didn't want to go back to the beginning at that point.

  2. This isn't my favorite Austen either, but it still has some great characters.

  3. This has a soft spot in my heart because I fell in love with the film adaptation, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, back in high school. I read the book a couple of years ago, and while it isn't my favorite Austen, I am most definitely crushing on Knightley!

  4. I know most people find Emma an annoying person, but I just loved her. She's superficial and has many flaws but I think she's a great character.

  5. I studied this for my HSC (end of school exams in Australia taken to determine what mark you get and what university degree you can get into).

    Studying it made it about 100% better for me than it would have been if I had just read it on my own first time around. I can't remember much about what we learnt now because it was so long ago, but I remember being amazed at just how incredibly clever it was. We also studied it with Clueless, the move with Alicia Silverstone, which I gained a better appreciation of.

    I am half way through re-reading Emma now on my phone. I think its actually my second favourite after Pride and Prejudice

  6. I read these all years ago, and Emma was my favorite, although I can't remember why. I think it was because I liked Knightley best, even better than Darcy. It's also on my re-read list to see if I still feel the same way I did when I was younger.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Emma is one of my favorite Austen novels - it's a lot of fun, and I liked that there was interaction between Emma and Knightly throughout the book, rather than the few stiff conversations/arguments that Lizzie & Darcy have in P&P. I also liked that Knightly is the only one that scolded Emma when she was being mean or silly.

  8. This has been on my TBR for so long.... Thanks for the reminder

  9. What a fantastic hardcover edition! I'd probably give Emma a B- too - not my favorite, but I though some of the characters were memorable. Like you said, fun and lively, although I did think some of the writing was a bit tedious.

  10. I think I've told you before - I've never read an Austen, but I do have Emma on my TBR shelf, so I enjoyed your review. I will get to it this year, I promise!

    I did enjoy the movie adaptation of Emma!