© 1817 Jane Austen
249 pages

Persuasion is the story of a young couple broken apart by the young woman (Anne’s) family convincing her that her beau doesn’t have enough money or social standing to be a good match for her. After Anne’s foolish father squanders the family’s resources on trying to meet society’s expectations, they’re forced to rent out the family home to an admiral and his family. Said family includes…..the jilted beau, Captain Wentworth, who re-enters Anne’s social scene. After first studiously avoiding the other, the erstwhile lovers are forced to talk after the Captain’s new belle injures herself acting foolishly, and the old flame (never lost) flares up yet again. This time, though, said captain has money and social standing, so everyone is A-OK with the union and they all live happily ever after. Of the five Austen novels I’ve read, this is both the snobbiest and the most dangerous to live in, since there’s enough widows and widowers to make a drinking game out of. I think I’d find the novel more interesting if the ending hadn’t effectively legitimated Anne’s family’s snobbery: what if they were reunited and the Captain’s fortunes hadn’t improved, had indeed worsened, but Anne decided her affection and love for his character meant more than his meager funds and humble social status? That said, Austen does mock the snobbery, most obviously through her father — a man who has to quit his family home because he can’t bear to rein in his spending for fear of losing status, who distracts himself from his financial woes by poring over the equivalent of the Social Register. I enjoyed it well enough, but the ending was obvious from reading the back of the book: unlike Northanger Abbey, there was never any ambiguity.

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Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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5 Responses to Persuasion

  1. Marian says:

    Wow, you read that fast. 😀 Another Classics Club book down!

    Persuasion was one of my least favorite Austens when I encountered it as a tween. I don’t have fond memories of Wentworth as the leading gentleman, even if he is a bit more realistic than, say, the ever-patient Mr. Knightley. However, I need to read it again and see if I just missed some things (which is more than likely).

    • That’s Labor Day weekend for you! I only had fifty pages to work on today at breakfast and lunch. Since I was such a sluggard about classics this year I’m hoping to make up for lost time. I was going to save Ida Elizabeth for February (given the love theme), but after being disappointed by Persuasion I’m tempted to take it on. It’s supposed to be meatier from a literature-to-think-about view.

  2. Cyberkitten says:

    My 2nd fave Austen after (of course) P&P. Loved it. I thought Anne was an excellent character. She had her head well screwed on despite the pain it was causing her. A classic tale of girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl gets boy back.

    My review (from back in 2011!) is here:

    • Lord, I see my friend Baley commented on that one. Been ages since I saw her in the blogosphere! From your blog and past comments I know you’ve read at least 4 of her books — what about Northanger Abbey & Mansfield? (Your blog has a lot of Austen-related books….I’ll have to take a look at those for next April! Planning on re-reading The Jane Austen Book Club to see if my take on it differs once I’ve finished the six. Only Mansfield remains..)

      • Cyberkitten says:

        I’ll see about reading Northanger & Mansfield next year. I also have a few more Austen related books to pick up too. I’ll hit my ‘target’ of 6 classics soon which is good. Just finished a non-fiction classic yesterday & will be reading a SF classic in a week or so. I *might* be able to slip in a few more thin classics – possibly – before Year’s End though….

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