today my boyfriend and I will be reviewing Sense and Sensibility! Woohoo! He’s a bookworm too, as you guys might know by now, and we both like Jane Austen (I think… or so he tells me), so I thought it’d be fun to do a double review!
Naty’s Rating: ★★★★
Genres: Classics, Romance
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
As the oldest of two sisters with a high opinion of my logical thought (what is modesty? Is it to eat?), I tended to see myself in Elinor, only to be surprised by how much I also related to Marianne. Most people will probably fall somewhere in between the personality of both sisters, which is such a unique thing about this book. You can probably see a bit of yourself in both.
Yes, the story is a bit cheesy and the ending quite predictable, but it is so good. Austen’s writing is very engaging, and her witty, sarcastic undertone in the text is quite entertaining – her criticism of society and sassy characters are my favorite things about her books! However, it can be a bit hard to get through the first pages, where we are introduced to the characters. But after being able to tell people apart, the book goes quite easily – as with every Austen book!
Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite Austen book, but this one comes close. The sisterly relationship in Sense and Sensibility is my favorite thing about it for sure – they are loyal to each other throughout the entire story.
I recommend this book very much. If you are new to Jane Austen, don’t give up if you find the beginning hard to follow because of so many characters. You’ll get the hang of it. This book has a nice representation of sisterly relationship and it is quite funny.
Thanks to Naty for the opportunity to share my thoughts on Sense and Sensibility. First, so you know where I come from: I read about half fiction (modern as well as classics and some select fantasy) and non-fiction (mostly about history and politics).
Austen has a sharp eye for the mechanisms of her society. Marriage is essential to her heroines, both for ensuring their financial security without wealth of their own and for finding a place in society. These considerations of sense for whom to marry are juxtaposed to those of sensibility: Marianne falls head over heels in love with Willoughby, the more self-restrained characters Elinor (and Brandon) pine over their love interests from a distance. Do note that sense and sensibility are not mutually exclusive: Elinor is just as deeply in love as Marianne, and Marianne’s two romantic interests are both very good matches by the standards of the era.
The moving agent behind the marriages for wealth is the stratified societal structure. The best way to be financially well off is to be born rich, the second best way is to marry someone rich. Austen’s novels have therefore been used as evidence for the inequality-cementing dominance of capital incomes over labor incomes in 19th-century Europe by the French economist Thomas Piketty in his Capital in the Twenty-First Century – a pattern whose return nowadays Piketty has also noted.
But if you don’t want to read Sense and Sensibilities for the insights it offers on society, inequality and the entanglement of the practical and the emotional, do read it for the sarcastic one-liners. Example: „He was not an ill-disposed young man, unless to be rather cold-hearted, and rather selfish, is to be ill-disposed“. Apply water to burned area, John Dashwood.
What is your favorite Jane Austen book?Leave your opinions on the comments below!