Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.
Sense and Sensibility  - Jane Austen A classic in so many ways, yet I couldn't enjoy it as much as the last time I read an Austen. It's too familiar (not a problem with books I really love). I think my tastes are darker now.

It is a story in three sections of the three Dashwood sisters (though the youngest is so irrelevant to the story that I wonder why she exists) as they try to find love in a world of fickle, avaricious men - a situation exacerbated by their reduced circumstances. Elinor is the sense, Marianne the sensibility and Margaret is... irrelevant?

It includes various misunderstandings; the obligatory near death by catching a chill; witty barbs; reversals of fortune; comedy of manners; the joy of love and pain of betrayal; the rescue of a damsel in distress; London society compared with rural life, all fuelled by chatter/gossip and letters. If it seems clichéd that's because so many others have copied Austen's template on page and screen.

Some of the minor characters are veering on the stereotypical, but most of the main ones are well-drawn. I think my only criticism is that the one truly bad person in the book has no redeeming features at all and consequently is not very believable. In contrast, although some others do bad things, by the end you can excuse them a little as being victims of circumstance.

The details are clearly specific to the period, but there are still ideas one can empathise with today (not that that is a prerequisite for enjoying a book), particularly the themes of loyalty; family ties; whether love is or should be blind; what can be forgiven, and who is irredeemable. I've certainly known people where I think they "did not deserve the compliment of rational opposition".

Overall, I think it's a good book, just not to my taste at this stage of my life.

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China Miéville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake