Short and Sweet Reviews // Persuasion by Jane Austen

“The one claim I shall make for my own sex is that we love longest, when all hope is gone.”

// Jane Austen, Persuasion

Obviously, this is a love story.

Anne Elliot, our central character, fell in love with Captain Frederick Wentworth when she was just 19 and he was just a poor sailor. Her family judged him a poor match for Anne because he had no money and no connections, he wasn’t good enough for her. She yields to her families wishes and for the next eight years, she is kind of sad and lonely. Then he shows back up again and now he has made his fortune and is an attractive catch but neither of them knows how the other feels now.

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.”

// Jane Austen, Persuasion

It was a quick read but I feel like I should have taken more time with it. This is honestly the first time I have read a book and I cannot decide whether or not I liked it. I almost want to read it again and see if a second run will put my mind at ease one way or the other. I say almost because the I thought it was actually kind of…boring.

There are approximately a million characters in this book and I wanted to slap most of them. God are they all so stupid and all they do is sit around talking about, or complaining about, their social connections. Just like with Pride and Prejudice I can’t tell if that is because Austin didn’t write them well or if she is trying to give me the feeling of how it must have been for women back then. Stuffy and depressing.

“Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

// Jane Austen, Persuasion

So, once again, I am stuck wondering if this the genius of Austin? Is it that she sucks us in with beautiful writing, into a world that suffocates and frustrates us, and then lets our main character get her happy ending so that we can feel that we have gotten out of that world and can finally breathe with her? Or is it clever writing to cover up one-dimensional characters and a love that makes us swoon and think we’ve read a grand tale?

I hated it, but I liked it, and for some reason the more I think about it the more I like it. I am so confused! I recommend you read it so you can tell me what you think.

“…when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.”

// Jane Austen, Persuasion

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Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

2 thoughts on “Short and Sweet Reviews // Persuasion by Jane Austen”

  1. I never read this book, but with Pride and Prejudiced you were pretty close on your assessment – it is a comedy of manners and how stuffy and depressing it used to be (or “was” for Jane). The book is 90% social commentary and 10% love story and the more you understand the society she is making fun of, the more interesting you will find the book.

    Like

    1. See that makes much more sense! The 90/10 split sounds about right too. It would explain why so much of the writing is focused on explaining, in great detail, where everyone is standing and how everyone acting, and how they shouldn’t be acting, in any given social setting. All the rules and the small talk was maddening!

      I’m starting Sense and Sensibility today, we’ll see if I get the same feelings again :)

      Liked by 1 person

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