Everything Austen II is a challenge hosted by Stephanie over at Stephanie's Written Word.
The goal: To read 6 Austen-themed works between July 1, 2010 and January 1, 2011.
The progress so far:
1: Persuasion (Jane Austen)
Signet Classics, 1996 (original publication 1817)
I have read at least 3, if not 4, contemporary retellings of Austen's Persuasion - so I was very familiar with the story. Several of my close friends love it, calling it their favorite Austen of all. So I went into this with high hopes and a happy sense of anticipation. And then I struggled my way through it ... I love Jane, but I definitely do not love Persuasion. At all. You can tell that this novel was written as she was "running out of time" sotospeak, and was not able to go back and rework everything -- it's almost like a second, maybe third draft, and one more good revision would have done the trick. The story's there, the characters have some promise, but it's just not quite clicking. The best of the whole book are Chapters 10 and 11 of Volume 2 -- coincidentally, the only two chapters Jane went back and did serious reworking of (or so says the introduction in my volume). You can tell. There's a difference to the story in those two chapters.
Anne Elliot annoyed me. I wanted to shake her until her teeth rattled in her head and she woke up. They say she shows amazing patience -- to me, she showed immense passivity. Did she feel things? Yeah, to varying degrees. But she was just so ... complacent and accepting of everything. I got increasingly frustrated with her as the course of the novel continued. Captain Wentworth was not a bad hero - but I'd like to get to know him better. He had a humanity to him, a normal, familiar pride about him, that reminded me of Darcy. Perhaps if the Captain were written more, Anne would be more appealing and the story revived greatly.
Unfortunately, strangely, the original Austen is lacking in story and likeability to the contemporary retellings.
Book provided by my personal library.
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