Reading Classics: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
I read this book as part of the Classics Club Challenge – I challenged myself to read fifty classics picked by me in the next three years. To find out more, you can see my list or visit the Classics Club website.
Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
First Publication: 1814
After Emma, Mansfield Park is the second Jane Austen book I have read. My second foray into this classic author’s work was more successful than the last, and I’m looking forward to read more from her.
Fanny is forced to leave her family to live with her aunt and uncle at Mansfield Park. Her cousins don’t pay any attention to her, except her cousin Edmund. Mansfield Park follows Fanny’s life at the Park where she tries to ft in.
Many people don’t like Fanny or don’t find her interesting enough to be the heroine and focus of this long a book. She’s timid to the extreme, morbidly scared of offending anyone, and as shy as is humanly possible. I loved reading about her, because for one I think she’s a nice change from all the perky heroines other books have. Secondly, I know a Fanny in real life. It was so recognisable for me see Fanny react as she did to social situations. The whole silence thing and Fanny blushing all the time reminded me of my friend.
I love Ms Austen’s humorous style of writing, and I felt I was more in tune with it in Mansfield Park then I was when reading Emma. From the misguided characters, their social struggles to the descriptions of dainty ladies that can’t even walk a mile without being tired, Ms Austen’s writing gripped me and urged me to keep on reading. Admittedly, when I started reading I needed a bit time to get to know all the characters, but once I knew who was who I loved the story.
Mansfield Park definitely isn’t a perfect book. Ms Austen has the tendency to not build her books very evenly. Some plot points are divulged about endlessly, like the youngsters adventure with theatre, while at the end, where some nail-biting moments are collected, she will suffice with just some narrator’s commentary about what happened.
Even though it’s flawed, I immensely enjoyed Mansfield Park. As an avid reader of fantasy and paranormal books, it was great to for once read a book where the biggest dilemma is who to marry, instead of being in charge of saving the world. Ms Austen hooked me with her imperfect and often unlikeable characters that yet (or maybe consequently) seemed so real.