Monday, March 7, 2016

Reading Challenge 2016: Mansfield Park

Week 10: A book by Austen

Mansfield Park
by Jane Austen

My Least Favorite Austen Novel

Like most of Austen's works, this one has a large following. Unlike her other works, it's not my cup of tea.

It's hard for me to relate to Fanny, the main character. I sympathize with her and understand why she acts as she does, but I feel no companionship with her - or any of the characters for that matter. A book where you do not connect with anyone is a difficult book to read.

The writing is also not Austen's best. It's cumbersome at times, hard to follow, and awkward. After the first several chapters you get into the rhythm of the style of this book, but it can be difficult to persevere.

This is my second time reading this work. I read it a number of years ago and was thoroughly disappointed and put off by the book. Fanny was just too good and literally has no faults (unless not standing up for herself is one, but given her position she could hardly do that). She is truly the moral compass of the work, and that is nice to see, but most of the other characters are so bad that it creates an almost unbelievable situation. In everything, however, Fanny does nothing to advance the plot. Everything is done to her or around her. She moves nothing, and that's a hard lot for the central character.

The work is hardly surprising in what actually happens in its course, being mostly predictable, which is always a disappointment. Many of the societal points Austen makes in this work, she also makes in Pride & Prejudice, though they are perhaps more clearly seen here.

While I like this book better upon a 2nd reading, it is still my least favorite of her works (aside from the posthumously published Love & Friendship collection, which is simply painful samples of her early writing).

2.5 stars

This book appears as a part of the Reading Challenge 2016. To see other books in the challenge, click here.

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