25 January 2016

Persuasion by Jane Austen

               Oh, what to say about Persuasion? What to say about any classic really other than, “I loved it!” Even the fourth time around I love it. I’ll love it when I read it again a fifth time too. I read it along with a good friend of mine from Oregon. We have been reading a couple of books simultaneously in order to send each other good quotes over text. Also, we have found it has deepened our friendship because we definitely learn things about ourselves and each other by talking about these books.
                Persuasion, for the person who hasn’t experienced its delights, is the best last of Jane Austen’s books, and it reads like a mature book. The main character, Anne Elliot is 27, so you know, pretty much an old maid (haw haw) and it’s even set in the Fall so it just sounds…more mature. That’s really the only way to describe it. Also, it’s one of the only Austen novels that really allows you to see as clearly into the mind of the main character. In my opinion you get a clearer understanding of how Anne Elliot thinks than you get with say, Emma Woodhouse or Catherine Moreland
                It is the story of Anne Elliot, who turned down Frederick Wentworth eight years before the novel started due to the advice given her by family friend and surrogate mother Lady Russell. When the story opens the Elliot family is losing money and is forced to let their family home and take a smaller apartment elsewhere. Fate has it that the Frederick Wentworth’s sister and her husband are the new tenants throwing Anne and Frederick together again.
                I am always struck when reading this at the “goodness” of Anne Elliot. Austen herself said that Anne Elliot was “almost too good” for her in a letter to a friend. Anne respectfully listened to well-intentioned advice from Lady Russell, and even though it perhaps robbed her of eight years of happiness she never regretted it or turned on this woman who was just doing her best to raise her in place of Anne’s late mother. Also, she comports herself well. She is bold with Wentworth when she needs to be but doesn’t do anything outrageous for a lady in this era (unlike the movie would have you believe, which has her running down the street after him). She is just cool and collected and strong and wise. Shall I go on? Can you tell that I think she is awesome?
                Something I didn't necessarily foresee was (even though I have read this more than once before), this book is so funny. In places it was laugh out loud funny. I forget that I also love Austen because of her great absurd characters.
                Personal note, when Husband and I first met…about eight years before we started dating (ahem), I learned that his favorite Austen novel was Persuasion. It really was meant to be. 
                Personal note Number 2: I have this weird feeling that I have said most of this before, but I seriously went through my whole blog to see if I have already blogged about this book, and I couldn't find anything. So, who knows. I'm sure if I go about re-reading good books I'll mention them more than once, and it would be nice to see how my opinions change anyway.


Carrie said...


I think I read this one last year. I've grown sort of adverse to Austen in some ways because she seem so....cliche?....in a female world. So I get sort of eye-roll-y about her until I read her again and discover how delightful her stories are. I really liked Anne Elliot. For all of the reasons you mentioned.

BerlinerinPoet said...

Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Conservative Christian women love them some Jane Austen, and it makes you want to be different. Haha, but you have to admit, she is pretty great.