The Entertaining Emma by Jane Austen

After watching its 1995's loose adaptationCluelessearlier this month, I was determined to pick up Emma by Jane Austen to see the original inspiration behind the iconic Cher Horowitz. Albeit curious, I hadn't expected myself to read it sooner in the months ahead, but my reread of Pride and Prejudice last week surprisingly changed everything. I decided to seize the opportunity to read it right away as I've been in the very mood for another dose of Austen's books for quite some time now.

Emma follows the story of a handsome, clever, and rich young woman who bears the same name as the title of this book. Living in Hartfield in the village of Highbury with her father, Emma Woodhouse determines not to get married unless she falls very much in love with someone.

When her governess, Miss Taylor, gets married, both Emma and her father suffer the same loss of a very good old friend. Even though she feels rather lonely now, Emma senses that she should take the credit for the successful matchmaking between the newlywed Mr. and Mrs. Weston. Despite the disapproval of her neighbor and best friend Mr. Knightley, Emma fixes her decision to play matchmaker for the young Harriet Smith. However, her attempt to bring about a marriage between the clueless Harriet and some men turns out to be totally misguided.

I finished Emma in about two sittings and while I felt like some scenes were unnecessarily too long, it was a page-turner still. It's quite understandable why for some people Emma was harder to like compared to Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice, but for me, Emma Woodhouse was such a mood: I admired her quality, her cheerfulness, and her headstrong included. 

While it might seem like Emma was a busybody, I felt like she only meddled with other's business that piqued her interest. Not that I hinted that it's okay, but it was certainly fun to read, especially when she acted like she knew a lot of things when in reality she's so close to being clueless (I now understand why the 1995 movie adaptation had this title!). Emma was not a mean person though, and I really liked how her character developed throughout the whole story and also the contributing factors behind her progression.

Other characters were also given enough proportion showing either obstinacy or growth with the first one being referred to Miss Bates, Mrs. Elton, and also Mr. Woodhouse. Let's be honest: their characters were not exactly adorable but I loved how theirs managed to stand out. I also adored Mr. Knigthley very muchhis concern for Emma's personality growth was praiseworthy. Too bad that the two shared not enough scenes together (or at least less than I hoped there would be).

All in all, I considered Emma quite an entertaining read with good storytelling and rather amusing characters (even if I had laughed more while reading Pride and Prejudice last week). It's also important to point out that this book reminded me that it's okay to feel ashamed of one's mistake and try to mend it sincerely. I'm now extremely excited to watch the 2020 movie and undergo the experience of reading other Austen's books.

Actual rating: 3.5