Yes, it’s true! I finally read “Persuasion.” As you may recall, I love the story and have watched the movies, but I’d never actually gotten around to reading the book. But no longer! I’ve cleared that hurdle and can hold my head high from here on out in conversations about this book.
But what did I think of it? Errr . . . I discovered it was really hard to read this book and not compare it to the movies. But I made a sincere effort to take this book on its own merits and not let my previous opinions influence me. So here are my main thoughts:
1. Jane Austen is going to kill me with her writing style. In all fairness, it’s not Jane Austen herself, it’s the time period. Really, compared to other authors I’ve read from that period, Austen’s breeze. But I kept wanting to yell at her to quit wasting time making witty observations on human character and tell the story already! And yes, I do realize that making witty observations on human character is what Austen’s known for, but I stopped caring about 5 pages in. I just wanted her to focus on the plot already.
2. Anne is a very . . . mellow . . . main character. I was expecting that going in, but I didn’t realize just how unexciting she is. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I like Anne, I really do. I like that she’s thoughtful and kind and patient and selfless. But sometimes I wanted to grab her by her collar and tell her to stand up for herself. I appreciate her quiet strength, but I wanted her to show some not-so-quiet strength too.
3. Wentworth and Anne don’t have nearly enough conversations. I realize that the foundation of their relationship was built before this book began, but come on! They have, like, three conversations the entire book. It’s not like I think this makes their love superficial, but for my own gratification I just wanted them to TALK to each other instead of stare longingly. I also wanted them to go make out in the shrubberies, but I knew enough not to expect that to happen.
4. The last 20 pages make this book. As I neared the end, I was starting to doubt my love for “Persuasion” all these years. I was starting to think I should’ve actually read the book before declaring my undying love. But then I got to the last 20 pages, thank goodness. They saved the book for me. Partly because of Wentworth’s letter (uh, duh, it’s only the most romantic letter of all time), and partly because that’s when you get to find out what’s been going on in Wentworth’s head all this time. He’s been a mystery to the reader as well as to Anne up to that point, and frankly I was starting to doubt that he was worth Anne’s misery. But then it’s all explained, and I felt perfectly justified in allowing Wentworth back into my good graces.
So overall, while I didn't fall completely in love with this book like I wanted to, I ended up being happy enough with it in the end. I still think the story line of the book is the most romantic thing ever—it’s just the execution that I struggled with. And I’m okay with that.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Am I allowed to give a rating to a classic? Or is that some kind of sacrilege?)