by Jane Austen
So, I had stumbled across a couple of sequels to Emma and wanted to read them, but it had been a while since I read the original. This old Dover copy (I love Dover books! They used to be a dollar everywhere; I would agonize over which ones to purchase every year at the home school convention) is exactly the way I like to read Austen’s book: It’s just her book. No notes, no one else’s thoughts, just Austen’s story, plain and simple. Commentary has its place; that place is very rarely while I’m actually reading a story.
Anyway, I enjoy Emma, but Emma herself is not my favorite heroine. I just want to give her a good shake most of the time. She annoys the bejeebers out of me. And while most of Austen’s other heroines end up understanding and working to rid themselves of their flaws, I never get that feeling with Emma. Yes, she realizes that she’s an arrogant, self-centered, indolent person, but her regrets about not befriending Jane Fairfax, her attempts to make things up to Miss Bates, her realization of how amazing Knightly is–none of these things really impress me as actual changes in her character. One hopes that she will go forward and be less annoying, but I’m not really confident about that. Perhaps Knightly will have a good influence on her. One can only hope. But between her and Mrs. Elton (!!!!!!!!!! horrid woman!!!!!!!!), Emma is a book I pick up every few years, but not one that I miss in between.