Do you ever just read a book and you say to yourself why in the hell did I start reading this? Do I hate myself today? Do I just not want to read good books? And for me to go down that road with a beloved classic...sigh.
I felt the same way reading this book that I did reading The Catcher in the Rye. That I was supposed to get how clever and awesome the main character(s) were and hope that they persevered. Instead I disliked the characters from beginning to end and wanted to shake everyone involved.
When the book starts out you do feel some sympathy for the Dashwood family. The family (father, mother, older girls Elinor and Marianne and younger sister Margaret) had lived with an elderly relative who for some bizarre reason did not leave his estate to the family that was caring for him and lived him for all of these years. When the elder Dashwood father dies, he asks his son from his first marriage to take care of his sisters. His son agrees and then promptly forgets all about that once his wife takes pains to establish that his sisters deserve nothing and what will happen to their son if he gives money to his half sisters. FYI I hated both of these characters. A lot.
So from there readers get to follow the remnants of the Dashwood family to live with Mrs. Dashwood's cousin. Once there the family is constantly thrown together with the Middletons, Mrs. Jennings and Colonel Brandon. Because Marianne is a brat she is ungracious about Colonel Brandon having a crush on her. Things come to an abrupt end when John Willoughby meets Marianne after she hurts herself walking in the rain (of course it was in the rain) and the two are pretty much never apart from each other from that day forward.
Elinor just runs around after everyone and mostly tries to keep an eye on her sister instead of living her own life. This is seriously the whole book. We have things occurring and Marianne reacting badly and or in drama queen behavior and Elinor being tight and buttoned up about everything and everyone.
I wish that I had liked Elinor in this book. But good grief she was a killjoy of the first order. And I still don't get why she even liked or cared about Edward. I feel more warmly towards the guy I work with that still calls me by the wrong name after a year.
When you see how dramatic Marianne gets over Willoughby, ugh. I had no sympathy for her or for him when you actually see how things were between them and how badly Willoughby's character was.
The writing for Sense and Sensibility is so terrible that I kept wondering if Jane Austen really did write this. I loved Pride and Prejudice and thought that the dialogue and little asides made about Darcy and Elizabeth were right on. We get none of that in Sense and Sensibility. Instead I felt like we got a character that was forced to marry a man she had no interest in because she got scared by what happened when she actually did think with her heart (Marianne) and another character who married a man that I swear she had no feelings for at all based on her and his interactions with her (Elinor).
The flow was awful. It takes a lot to get me to DNF a book but I swear I danced near the edge of DNFing it about halfway through. The book just goes on and on and on and you wonder why in the name of all that is holy (or not holy) is it not freaking over yet.
Unlike with Pride and Prejudice I didn't get a special sense of ton and the country. It just felt like characters were being forced to travel (always against their will) and these were just places for other absurd things to occur to them in a different venue.
Bah freaking hum-bug to this ending. Yeah I said it. You have one sister married and another pretty much being strong armed to marry by her family and others around her. Yes I know that some would interpret that Marianne fell gradually in love with a man old enough to be her father. I didn't get that feeling at all. And also what gets me is that no one comes to a bad end in this book though I swear that at least several of the characters needed to be killed off or at least have some sort of comeuppance (John and Fanny Dashwood, Willoughby, Lucy, and Robert) I mean Jane Austen even makes it a point to say that Willoughby was pretty much content his whole life even though he thought of Marianne often.
I will take Sense and Sensibility the movie over this book any day.