New Year, New Books #10: Persuasion by Jane Austen
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As great lover of classic literature I don’t know how I missed reading Jane Austen until two years ago but somehow she never came across my desk. However, after accidentally stumbling upon the 2005 movie version of “Pride and Prejudice” I fell in love with Lizzie and Darcy and knew I had to read the original. I quite enjoyed Austen’s most recognizable work and knew I needed to give another one of her titles a try. After all, there’s a reason so many of her pieces of work have been translated on to screen. My issue was I didn’t know where next to go in Miss Austen’s repertoire so it wasn’t until yesterday that I decided to just pick a book and go with it!
I randomly chose “Persuasion” and I am so glad that I did. It was a quick read full of the manners and charm so characteristic of Austen’s Regency era but it was also deep in it’s reflection on life and consequence. I found a kindred spirit in Anne Elliot and a dashing figure in Captain Wentworth. Their pride, foolishness and ultimate mistakes are just as relatable today as they were over two hundred years ago proving that youth and folly are an inherent human flaw not lost on the ages.
When it comes to romance novels I prefer ones that are more reflective of reality than the current form of millionaire playboys who say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time and will run to you in slow motion across a sandy, white beach. I’ve never understood the draw of that perfection perhaps because I can not see myself in that story. (This is also why Gilbert Blythe is my all time dream boat.) I think this is part of the reason Austen’s novels have had such long-lasting appeal. Yes, many of her leading men end the story well off with an estate much in need of a wife but they also make many mistakes along the way and are tangled up by their own hubris which is truly relatable.
Of course, each of her stories seem to end with a wedding (or several) and this is no different but I think that is part of the charm. In spite of the flaws these two people can find happiness within each others arms and I call that delightful!