DAY 26 - A BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR OPINION ABOUT SOMETHING
After ploughing my way through Pride and Prejudice, and hating it (see Day 11), I thought that maybe I was missing something with Jane Austen and decided to read Emma, and Mansfield Park to see if my initial reaction was wrong. Holy crap, they were even worse.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I was given Persuasion to study for my English Literature course at school. Aha, I thought, now that I’m a bit older maybe I’ll appreciate all the subtle humour and wit that everyone tells me I’m missing. Wrong! I hated that one too, and came to the conclusion that Jane Austen was completely unreadable.
But I’ve always enjoyed a challenge (or I’m as stubborn as a mule, if you listen to my mother), so I decided to have one final attempt at reading one of her books.
“OK bitch, this is your last chance", I muttered as I picked up Northanger Abbey (chosen solely because it was shorter than Sense and Sensibility).
And I have to say while it wasn't the greatest thing I'd ever read, I did actually enjoy it. I love a good over-the-top gothic novel, and Austen beautifully skewers the genre. For instance, Catherine Morland’s mother does not die giving birth to her. General Tilney did not murder or imprison his wife, there are no nasty surprises hiding in the locked rooms, and Northanger Abbey itself is actually rather pleasant and cosy.
I mean yeah, there’s the usual Austen wangst about finding a husband, but it wasn’t as bad as her other books, and I really liked Catherine Morland who goes from being a tomboy playing baseball and cricket, to being "in training for a heroine".
So thank you Northanger Abbey for changing my opinion from ‘Jane Austen is completely unreadable’ to ‘Jane Austen is moderately unreadable’.