This was my first -- and probably last -- Jane Austen novel. I forced myself to finish it, although the tedium at times was exhausting. It's a soap opera of another era, with fine language and descriptions -- but really, a bit shallow.
For me, I'm not sure I can find a "most interesting" aspect of this story. It all seemed pretty uninteresting.
I am sure the reader did a fine job with a Jane Austen novel. I found it tedious, like a group of gossiping ladies.
Of course I could, because it was. I felt like I was listening to Gwenyth Paltrow and pictured her in the role, as I believe she played Emma -- and I suspect she made the story more interesting than the book.
Thank heavens I finished it and checked "Jane Austen" off my list of "authors to read."
Juliet Stevenson does an amazing job of presenting Emma: each character is distinct, and the infamous "Mrs. E." and the sweetly overwhelming Miss Bates are topnotch. I've read, seen, and listened to this work probably 6 times, and Stevenson's version does a fantastic job of highlighting the wit, insight, and satire of Austen's novel. Highly, highly, highly recommended on all fronts.
I enjoyed this SO much more than when I was forced to read it in high school. Emma is an awful biatch for a lot of the book, but instead of finding that incredibly annoying, I actually kind of loved it. She's not perfect by any means and that is really endearing. The way her character grows makes for such an interesting arc. All the characters are delightful, and of course Mr Knightley is quite dreamy, if a little creepy with the whole "I fell in love with you when you were 13" thing. I LOVE that (spoilers but do spoilers count for a 200 year old book?) he moves in with Emma at the end rather than the other way around. Despite the age difference they have an equal partnership and I adore it.
Avid reader and blogger
I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.
You see how picky I am about my shoes and they only go on my feet.
- Cher (from Clueless)
I would recommend this book to:
Any sucker for Jane Austen’s beautiful prose and clever remarks – and dedicated fans of Clueless
Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
Oh, how marvelous it is to revisit the world of Jane Austen. I’ve been meaning to reread Emma for ages. I read it 10 years ago for a Jane Austen class, where we went through all six novels in one semester. I love Jane Austen, but reading all the novels in one go is too much. Emma was one of the last novels we read in the class, and I’d had about enough at that point. I’ve always felt that I would have to reread Emma again at some point. As I’ve said many times before, I like variety in my books – that’s why I’ve challenged myself to read different genres in 2014: to ensure variety.
As bad as it makes me sound, part of me identifies with Emma. This is difficult for me to admit, as many – as well as myself – consider Emma Jane Austen’s least likable character. Rereading Emma felt like looking at my worst sides when I was in my twenties.
Better be without sense than misapply it as you do.
Do you prefer “fashion victim” or “ensembly challenged”?
- Cher (from Clueless)
I’m not totally like Emma: I don’t try to match make and I don’t interfere with people’s life decisions (unless they’re clearly making a mistake.) But I do sometimes have a bit of a know-it-all attitude (I’m working on it!) even though I don’t have a clue (which I’m not working on, I might add). And I can be a bit manipulative (but only when it’s really important). And finally, throughout my teens and most of my twenties, I was certain that there was no man in this world I would ever want to live with. Boy, was I clueless!
My being charming…is not quite enough to induce me to marry.
I must find other people charming – one other person at least.
Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.
And speaking of Clueless: I love doing these comparisons between Jane Austen novels and popular books and movies. For instance, Bridget Jones is based on Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones the Edge of Reason is based on Persuasion, and Clueless is based on Emma.
Let’s try to list the similarities:
• In Emma, our heroine befriends the poor Harriet Smith and teaches her how to be more ladylike – in Clueless, Cher befriends outsider Tai and tries to make her popular.
• Emma manipulates Harriet into refusing a marriage proposal from the man she loves because he’s just “a simple farmer” – in Clueless, Cher tells Tai to not have anything to do with the skater boy she adores.
• Emma convinces Harriet that she should set her heart on Mr. Elton – in Clueless, Cher convinces Tai to go for Elton.
• Emma paints a portrait of Harriet, which Mr. Elton frames, not because he’s in love with Harriet, but because it’s painted by Emma – Cher takes a photo of Tai, which Elton puts in his locker because Cher took the picture (“I’m having a Twin Peaks experience“).
• Mr. Elton proposes to Emma in a carriage on their way home from a dance – Elton makes a pass at Cher in a car on their way home from a party.
• Emma thinks she’s in love with Frank Churchill, but he’s engaged to another and they become friends instead. In Clueless, Cher throws herself at Christian who turns out to be gay. They become friends.
• In Emma, Harriet Smith is attacked by gypsies and rescued by Frank Churchill – Tai is attacked by some boys at the mall and rescued by Christian.
• At a dance, Harriet is left with no one to dance with, when Mr. Knightly saves her by dancing with her. In Clueless, Tai is alone at a party when Josh rescues her by dancing with her.
• Emma discovers that she’s in love with Mr. Knightly when Harriet declares that she’s in love with him. Cher discovers that she’s in love with Josh when Tai declares she’s in love with him.
I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.
Emma ranks high. Stevenson's performance is masterly, and really, I can't think why I was so surprised, given that she is a favourite actor.
Miss Bates. I can't help but think that Stevenson drew on Sophie Thompson's wonderful Miss Bates from the 1996 film Adaptation of the book for her own rendering. Miss Bates is a mad, lovely, and favourite of the characters of Emma, and I've loved Thompson's Bates since I first saw the film. She's like a kitten with wings, fluttering around in a squeaky and endearing way, and clumsily bumping into walls. Stevenson could readily be confused for Thompson.
The personalities are bang on. From the first time each character appears you KNOW what they are, because of Stevenson's acting. She really is brilliant. All her voices are fantastic and so distinct, and very few actually sound like Stevenson herself.
Emma's realisation of herself toward the end really cuts to the quick.
I'm not a fan of Emma. I prefer Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice by far, but because of Juliet Stevenson I foresee much re-listening to Emma in future. Highly recommended!
Loved Jane Eyre so thought this would be a great listen also, wrong. I kept trying to listen to it, but it is the most boring story I have listened to yet.
I've loved Jane Austen's novels for a long time, but I recently decided to go on a little audio-version kick. I'm not going to review the novel itself, but I will say that Juliet Stevenson's performance of this novel is outstanding. Her Harriet is just a bit ditzy, her Mrs. Elton is properly condescending, her Mr. Knightly stern and upright.
Whether you're already an Austen fan or you just want to know what the fuss is about, this is a great recording to go with.
This was my last Austin book to listen to and I think it was the most disappointing. I love, love, love Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. The character dialogue was long and at times tedious. For the first 3/4 of the book, Emma is not very likable. I realize that was Austin's intent but between that and the long conversations that bordered on boring I do not think I will ever want to re-listen to this book. I found myself zoning out while driving and having to back up the book to find where I stopped listening.
Like most people I have seen the movie. I am generally one of those people who always like the book better. In this case, not so much.
No...out of all of Austin's novels, this is my least favorite.
I have read a couple of her other books and generally like her. This book is no different.
I find that audible books allow you to savour moments in the story that one tends to rush otherwise keeping pace with story. As such, I appreciated Austen's writing in a new way. Juliet Stevenson eloquently brings each character to life. I love both, and intend to experience them again and again
Emma's horror at who Harriet is in love with is priceless as are the conversations between Mr Knightley and Emma, always entertaining.
Ooh, difficult question without giving the story away, but I'm a romantic so the confession of reciprocated love is my favourite
If only time allowed, work and life interfered, but yes!
Buy it, love it, crave to hear it again!
It really does seem that there is more than the usual of Austen's unpleasant/annoying characters in this book. Emma is haughty and conceded, her father is long suffer, Miss Bates won't shut up and Mrs. Elton must be related to that sweet-soul Lady Catherine.It made it difficult for me to love it.