Book Review

EMMA by Jane Austen

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Back in college many (many!) years ago, I took a class on Jane Austen where we read most, if not all, of her novels in rapid succession. I remember at the time enjoying them, but not really taking them all in very well having read them too quickly. I was very happy when we picked EMMA to be our November #ClassicsBuddyRead book!

EMMA follows the title character, a young woman who is happy in her life taking care of her hypochondriac father and meddling in the lives of those around her. The book starts in the wake of the marriage and departure of Emma’s dear friend and former governess (a match she would be proud to tell you she helped arrange). Emma is a bit at loose ends, so when she meets a young woman who she feels could use a bit of help to become a proper young woman with an appropriate match, she takes Harriet on.

I will admit that most of what I remembered of EMMA came from knowing that the movie Clueless was a retelling, so it took a bit to start reading the book for itself without comparing it to the movie. Still, I really found myself drawn into Emma’s story much faster than I expected. Emma is certainly not an easy character to always love, but I do think she generally has her heart in the right place. She’s just used to getting her way and seeing things from her place of privilege.

I enjoyed the relationship between Emma and Mr. Knightley as it plays out on the page as well. Mr. Knightly has the most ability to see Emma for who she is and to call her out on her nonsense. Emma is a strong character and determined to remain independent instead of giving herself over to love or marriage, but she does take much of what Mr. Knightley tells her to heart, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.

I am so glad to have revisited this one and can’t wait to get some more Jane Austen onto my reading schedule! If you are interested in our #ClassicsBuddyRead group, we’ve recently posted the schedule for 2022. You can find the full year’s schedule in my Instagram story highlights!

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