Well, I've gone rogue yet again. I have officially read more books that are not on my 2017 book list than ones that are. Sue me. After having all four of my wisdom teeth out, I needed a more medicinal read, if you will, so Emma it was.
Emma is one of my favorites. I know, I know; I say that about all of Jane Austen's novels, but Emma is so wonderfully delightful and funny that I can't help thinking it really might be my favorite. And on top of that, I can say definitively that Mr. Knightley is my favorite Austen man. And that's the truth.
In Emma, we meet our happily single heroine who has absolutely no inducement to marry herself but enjoys playing matchmaker among the less fortunate mortals who must succumb to that blessed institution. Through scrape after scrape, Emma slowly realizes that she is not well suited to wield Cupid's bow, and SPOILER, she ultimately gives up the title of Matchmaker for that of Bride.
The thing I love so much about Jane Austen's writing is that all her characters are so perfectly human. We all have a know-it-all Mrs. Elton or a never-stops-talking Miss Bates in our lives. We love our indulgent Mrs. Westons and are flattered by our charming Mr. Churchills but would be lost without our truth-telling Mr. Knightleys. We all know a worthy and respectable Miss Fairfax that we should probably be better friends with but secretly don't like, and prefer to spend our time with the adoring Miss Harriet Smiths of the world. And we all, at some point or other, end up sticking the proverbial foot into mouth and have to then choke down a slice of humble pie to correct our unfortunate blunder like our silly but well-meaning friend Emma.
In my last Austen recap, I said that Pride and Prejudice is probably the best place to start for Austen newbies. Emma is an excellent followup, and I would highly recommend it. And for you sacrilegious movie-preferrers out there, I will vouch for the adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. I actually love it.
Has anyone seen the BBC miniseries starring Romola Garai? I know Austen-lovers generally prefer BBC adaptations, but you know how I feel about them. Have you ever read Emma? It seems to be either the favorite or the least favorite with most Austen fans I've talked to. Seemingly no middle ground with this one. I can't imagine not loving it, but those people do exist in the world.