Friday, 9 December 2011

Advent With Austen: Sense and Sensibility, Chapters 10-22

Before I start talking about the second part of Sense and Sensibility (which, just so you know, is all SHOCKING and EMOTIONAL and so so good) I just want to draw your attention to the blurb on the back of my copy, which is just so... you'll see. Observe:
"Why are the most irresistible men always the most unsuitable?Sisters Marianne and Elinor couldn't be more different. Marianne is desperately romantic and longing to meet the man of her dreams, while Elinor takes a far more cautious approach to love.
When the two of them move to the country with their family, miles away from London, there is little prospect of finding anyone at all. But then they meet their new neighbours- including kind Edward Ferrers [sic] and the good looking, dangerous Willoughby- and it seems happiness may be just around the corner after all.
Things aren't always as they appear to be, though. Soon both sisters will need to decide who to trust in their search for love: their family, their new friends, their heads- Or their hearts?"
I mean, where do I even begin with the things that are wrong with this blurb?! I mean, firstly, way to make one of the greatest novelists, probably ever, sound like some second rate Chick Lit author. And, seriously, Edward Ferrers?! And this same Edward Ferrers (whoever he is) is apparently 'kind'. I've literally seen NO evidence of him being especially kind, and I'm like 150 pages in. The blurb writer, who is apparently some kind of moron, has also apparently not even read the book, since 1) They move to Devonshire (the 'country' apparently) from Sussex, NOT from London, Sussex also being miles away from London, 2) Edward Ferrars lives in Sussex and they move away from him, they don't meet him after they move, and 3) it doesn't suck. Unlike this blurb. Eurgh.

Anyway, I'm going to move on from the terrible blurb and not let it bother me anymore. Probably. Because, in this second section of Sense and Sensibility, there's so much drama and trauma, so many entrances and exits, and Elinor remains incredibly awesome (example: in response to Willoughby's waxing lyrical about their cottage "were I rich enough, I would instantly pull Combe down, and build it up again in the exact plan of this cottage." She responds "with dark narrow stairs, and a kitchen that smokes, I suppose?" God, I love that woman.) Surprisingly (sort of) Marianne is kind of awesome too! I mean, there was all that silliness over the horse ('Willoughby's giving me a horse!' 'Well obviously we can't keep it.' *pouts and looks a bit grumpy*) and she totally wallowed for pages when Willoughby went away (entirely mysteriously- as was Colonel Brandon's exit to London, all of which makes me go 'hmmmm...') but then she also does things like this:
"[Edward] was the only person in the world who could at that moment be forgiven for not being Willoughby; the only one who could have gained a smile from her; but she dispersed her tears to smile on him, and in her sister's happiness forgot for a time her own disappointment."
Awwww, Marianne! I love you now. Even though Edward turned out to be all annoying and wearing THE HAIR OF ANOTHER WOMAN in a ring. Which, I don't know if it's just me, but I find really creepy. I mean, I know photography hadn't exactly been invented yet (hence why we don't really know what Jane Austen looked like) but hair in a ring? Very strange!

We met some new characters in this part of the novel, and my absolute favourite of all of these was Mr Palmer, the insipid Lady Middleton's brother-in-law. Now, I don't normally take in a lot of the secondary characters in Austen novels because I like her heroines so much, and so kind of only see secondary characters in terms of their relation to said heroines. So, if they're not that important to the heroine, they're not too important to me either. In Elinor's eyes, Mr Palmer's general grouchiness in public is a result of having a wife who is so silly (although I did appreciate the discussion of her pregnancy because, in Emma, I didn't get that Mrs Weston was pregnant until she actually had the baby!) and Elinor disapproves of it as an affectation. In my eyes though, this:
"Lady Middleton... exerted herself to ask Mr Palmer if there was any news in the paper.
''No, none at all,' he replied, and read on."
I approve of sarcasm as a lifestyle choice, and I always will!

So, basically, at the end of this section, there are so many questions to be answered. Will Elinor have a nervous breakdown because Edward belongs to another? What have Willoughby and Colonel Brandon been doing, and will they ever come back? Will Mr Palmer come back and be all grouchy and sarcastic again? And can I even remember the other (unimportant) sister's name? (Margaret?) Such questions I have, hopefully some of which will be answered in next week's installment!


  1. That blurb is appalling! Did they just guess what was in the book?

  2. I'm thinking yes. I literally want to kill whoever wrote it!

  3. Is it a penguin edition? That is appalling. They shouldn't be a allowed to work for penguin if they haven't read sense and sensibility! Did no one check it when it was written? What kind of a shop do they run?!

  4. I can't believe how wrong that blurb us! It is shocking!

  5. The blurb fiasco reminded me of this article:

    Also, how awesome is Sense and Sensibility?! I would NOT want to be the poor, sad blurb writer assigned to condense its awesomeness into one tiny paragraph.

  6. I focusing much more on the secondary characters this time around. Mrs Jennings is adorable and I keep thinking about what's it like at the Palmers on a day-to-day basis.

    That blurb.. yikes! Talk about dumbing down!