Book Review: Persuasion

‘You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…’

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Christ. Just look at that front cover. It’s all there isn’t it. The Georgian era housing. The demure lady walking arm in arm with someone wearing a silly hat. The rolling hills in the background. This book is going to be boring isn’t it. It’s not going to have any Terminator’s in it. Nobody is going to have super powers. It’s going to feature swooning and petting and the word ‘countenance’ and there won’t be one moment of genuine humour or actual emotion. Well, there will be emotion but it will expressed demurely and without scandal. UGH.

Anne Elliot is a genteel, snooze inducing young lady who is in danger of becoming a spinster at the grand old age of 23. It was a different time. Captain Wentworth is a self made man who is still hurting from his broken engagement with Anne many years previously. Together they forge a relationship so passionate that, at times, it threatens to evolve into some pretty heavy petting.

Persuasion isn’t badly written of course. It is verbose though. It is difficult to follow. It features characters that are, at various points, referred to by their full name, their nickname or their maiden name. And when it comes down to it… Persuasion is boring. Sure, its beautifully written and it offers a snapshot into the lives of posh people in the 19th century but nothing really happens. Not really. Someone falls over about halfway through and that is honestly the most seminal moment in the whole novel. As with Dickens, I can see why Jane Austen has retained her popularity but both Dickens and Austen are a chore to get through now. I’ll be glad when this is all over.

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