Book No. 1: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. 43 books last year, 2013 give me more! 🙂
What It Is: This may be the book that inspired the saying ‘love makes the world go round‘. Three volumes dedicated to finding nothing more than love and marriage for the Miss Dashwoods, Elinor and Marianne. The narrative of Sense and Sensibility is rich with romanticism, materialism, and social climbing; the theme focused on balancing sense and sensibility to land a successful match.
What I Liked About It: The characters in Sense and Sensibility are well drawn and consistent. You know that Elinor is the sensible, controlled one right at the get go and all throughout, while Marianne is the more passionate, delirious one; Willoughby is the selfish scoundrel and Edward is the principled, tormented lover. The same thing goes for the other characters, you don’t have to think much to get to know who they are as everything is pretty much said for you.
I appreciate the strong characteristics of Elinor, wishing more than once while reading to have the same self control she has. I pretty much enjoyed it when Marianne broke her heart over Willoughby, it’s a real joy as I took fancy in her foolishness. The distinction between Willoughby and Edward painted towards the end is also good. I love how Willoughby explained his worldliness and how he owns up to suffer somehow from it. I think above everything, it is the characters that bring Sense and Sensibility to life because they are real and relatable though all imperfect.
What I Did Not Like About It: In the grand tradition of Wuthering Heights, this is another soap opera that brought me a challenge, but I must admit Sense and Sensibility proved to be an easier read compared to the former. I did not tolerate the bad society and the obsession of the sisters with love and marriage. The twist in the plot did not satisfy me too as I felt it forced and unbelievable. I find the entire thing shallow though I know there is nothing shallow about love in its entirety but the way it’s explored did not ignite any passion in my heart.
Recommends: Hopeless romantics may enjoy Sense and Sensibility, and maybe those interested in the Classics.