Posted in Fashionably Late Reviews :)

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: Was Marianne always so mean?

I recently had a revelation: I CAN listen to audiobooks without nodding off (or getting incredibly frustrated). Sophie (from the wonderful ‘So Many Books, So Little Time’) gave me a push in the right direction.

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By listening to an audiobook whilst doing work, I can hit two birds with one stone! But let’s not forget one simple fact: I’m broke. So how do I listen to pricey audiobooks? YouTube, friends. YouTube.

I chose ‘Sense and Sensibility’ for my first real foray into audiobooks because I LOVE the film. It was one of the first “period” stories that I fell in love with.

But for some reason I’ve never actually read it. Huh.

So I thought why not start here?

First thoughts?

The text feels meaner than than screen adaptations. Jane Austen has a sharp wit and draws a very hard picture (especially in dialogue) sometimes, and I forgot how much I loved that in other titles I’ve actually read of hers.

Fanny – Is an absolute beast. She’s a total bitch in the film. But in the book? Yikes. Cold, so cold.

But put Fanny aside *snorts* because Marianne is HARSH! Her own sister puts it:

“her opinions are all romantic”

And whereas I adore her passion and her drama (that often borders on melodrama), I feel like her judgements are blunt to the point of rudeness.

My heart breaks for Col. Brandon the whole way through. *sobs*

Marianne and Willoughby are downright mean to Col. Brandon, and sure it’s a different time, but JEEZ, he’s only 35. He’s not 55, or even 45.

There is, at least, some solace in the fact that Marianne’s character is probably the one that goes through the most change. She’s the main protagonist of the story, really, so it’s with great relief that she has her heart broken, that she has her mind awoken, and also sees Col. Brandon in the same way we, gentle readers, do. Of course, she comes out the other side better for it, methinks.

Elinor is a joy. I don’t know if it’s because I feel the most connected to her character. Almost at an opposite to Marianne, Elinor is carefully guarded even when her own heart may be breaking.

I don’t remember Marianne being so annoying. Admittedly, I’ve not read the book before, so my judgement is clouded by brilliant cinema. But still, I do wonder if it’s an age thing? Maybe? I thought Marianne was NEARLY insufferable in places. So selfish and even though I enjoyed her passion and her impulsiveness, she makes for terrible company.

Like, ok, I get it. You’re hella sad. And you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. But why gotta be so dramatic all the time? It’s tiresome.

I do think her character develops in a more positive way by the end of the book and I was glad to see her find some kind of peace within herself. She seems like a highly conflicted person and perhaps that is part of the reason she can act so… frustratingly!

All in all I enjoyed the pants of this book. And I’m proud of myself for sticking with an audiobook, even if it took me over a month to complete it.

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(actually me when I listened to the last seconds of that audio)

‘Sense and Sensibility’ is definitely going up there with my fave Classics, that’s for sure.

Am I being too harsh on Marianne though? Let me know in the comments!

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YA writer. Epic reader. Professional procrastinator.

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