Anyone Read Alexander McCall Smith's Emma?
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I was very disappointed, it seemed rather boring and unbalanced. Emma's back story is much enlarged and the ending is rather abrupt. I have read Sense & Sensibility and Northanger Abbey and enjoyed both much more than I expected. I was looking forward to this one as I prefer the original Emma over the original S&S and NA; I like Alexander McCall Smith's other books more than Joanna Trollope's and I've never read any Val McDermid as she doesn't write a genre that I enjoy, so perhaps it was just my expectations were too high.
You may want to reconsider when I tell you that I was disappointed in Longbourn, too!
I did. Here's what I wrote on my thread:
Emma: A Modern Retelling, Alexander McCall Smith, 2014, Audiobook read by Susan Lyons
Cover comments: pleasant cover that fits the book.
Comments: An updated version of the classic Jane Austen novel of the same name. This is one of those books that readers give either 5 or 1 star reviews.
The Good: The writing is good, as I think one could expect from Alexander McCall Smith (I'm not sure though--I've only read one other book by him). He even manages to make little pointed Austen style jokes. The overall atmosphere of the book is quite cozy and pleasant. There are lots of interesting little tidbits and tangents.
The Not So Good: The character Emma doesn't make much of an appearance until well into the book. The first several chapters are Mr Woodhouse's story, and some of her governess Miss Taylor (who I don't even remember from the original). George Knightly has a tiny part, and when he ends up with Emma at the end, I had to wonder why since we didn't see him throughout the story.
Mr Woodhouse, who in this novel is 9 months older than me (we are in our early 50s), acts like an old man. He has anxiety issues, particularly around food and germs. This seems like a clever update on Austen's character, but in the execution he mostly just annoyed me. Harriet Smith was also often annoying in her ditzyness. But Emma . . . I didn't like Austen's Emma, but this one. This one . . . obtuse, privileged, entitled, and occasionally a biotch.
I think that Emma might be a difficult story to bring forward 200 years. At times this novel really didn't feel like today's UK, unless things are very different in small town Norfolk.
Rating: A balance between pretty good and eh. That means 3 stars. I was entertained even though I did roll my eyes now and then.
Recommended for: People who don't mind a book where 90% of the characters are twits.
Why I Read This Now: I was in need of an audio book.
Very helpful, thanks. I like AMS, especially the No.1 ladies Detective Agency series, but everything I've read about this one makes it sound a bit disappointing.
>8 jnwelch: I find that with any Jane Austen retelling or "sequel," if I go in with really low expectations, I'm less disappointed.
I hadn't really planned to read it, as "disappointing" was the word of choice in so many reviews of this book, but like >7 Nickelini:, I find that I will be in need of an audiobook shortly and this is available at the library. So I will probably be tackling it soon.
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