Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classic literature, romance
Grade: B (4 /5)
Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.
While Emma Woodhouse has no desire to marry, she loves playing matchmaker for her friends. But when she attempts to arrange a match for her new friend Harriet Smith, things don’t go quite so smoothly.
Sound familiar? For those of you who (like me) love the movie Clueless, it should. After all, the whole reason I wanted to read this book is because Clueless is a modern adaptation of it.
I’m not going to go into this and say that I loved Emma because I didn’t. Despite this, I still enjoyed the book and I think it’s worth a read, especially if you like the whole friends-to-lovers trope.
Anyway, it took me awhile to get into Emma. The book felt so incredibly long that I found myself skimming chunks of it. It took me about a week to read, mostly because I would skim, get confused, and then have to actually read the whole chapter. Essentially, my laziness made it a chore.
Part of the reason I wanted to skim was due to the writing style. Austen’s sentences are so long winded, and this isn’t really something I’m a fan of. I often found myself getting lost in dialogue, especially when Miss Bates was talking (but I think she had that effect on the characters too). I find this style to be a little boring and tiresome, and it’s probably the reason I once shied away from classic literature. However, I’m more tolerant as an adult, and I don’t get as confused in it as I used to.
Despite this, I enjoyed Emma. Even though many might disagree with me, I actually liked Emma as a character. Part of this probably has to do with my obsession with Clueless: I loved Cher. Part of this is because I thought, despite her mistakes, her heart was in the right place. As for the characters I hate? Well, obviously Mrs. Elton (God, she’s awful). And it’s probably unpopular opinion: I didn’t really like Harriet (and wasn’t a fan of Tai in Clueless either).
And then there’s Mr. Knightley. Ugh.What isn’t there to love? I mean, I might even prefer him over Josh. Who am I kidding? I love Paul Rudd. But still, I thought Mr. Knightley was a great character, and I definitely have a little book crush on him.
But the main reason I enjoyed this book so much because it was fun to look at how Clueless adapted it. This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I could picture the Clueless corresponding scenes in my head perfectly. So if you’re a fan of Clueless, know that you might get the same enjoyment out of Emma.
P.S. If you haven’t watched Clueless, you’re TOTALLY missing out.