As you might have seen, Sense and Sensibility is one of my all-time favorite books. When I decided to read all of Jane Austen’s major novels last summer (after heavy influence during the semester from my boyfriend, who was currently taking a class about Austen), I doubted I would find that I liked any of them better than Pride and Prejudice, which was the only one I had read up until that point. (Pride and Prejudice still holds a special place in my heart—after all, it was the first book I ever read for school that I liked—but more on that when I write that entry.) As you can see from my favorites list, that turned out to be far from true.
Sense and Sensibility is the story of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. Early on in the novel, they are each severely disappointed in love, leaving them both despondent. Elinor, the eldest and the living embodiment of “sense,” must conceal her disappointment not only because it is her disposition to do so, but because the reason for her disappointment must be kept secret. Marianne, the more “sensible” of the two (in Austen’s time, “sensible” meant close to what “sensitive” means today), makes no effort to hide her feelings. Both sisters must learn to balance sense and sensibility if they are to find happiness—which, of course, they eventually do.
Every time I read Sense and Sensibility, I love it more, primarily because I find that I relate more to Elinor than to any other Austen character. Like Elinor, I tend to be easygoing and prudent; I also tend to bottle up my feelings and try not to betray them to just anyone. I can also relate to Elinor in that I have a younger sister who is a lot like Marianne: “generous, amiable, and interesting,” but also “eager in every thing: her sorrows, her joys…have no moderation.” In short…a bit of a drama queen. And I know Elinor loves Marianne and tries to look out for her, just as I try to look out for my sister.
The story itself, like the rest of Austen’s novels, has its share of drama. As I read, I truly feel as though I am personally involved in the struggles that plague Elinor—and, to some extent, Marianne. The story ends happily and, for the most part, satisfactorily. I personally didn’t quite expect it to end the way it did (at least in one respect), but I was happy with the ending. The more I think about it, the more I like it, and not least because both sisters end up happy.
This is one that I am going to recommend to everyone, just because it’s SO freaking awesome. Five stars…er…hearts!!