Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Jane Austen Book Club: Northanger Abbey + Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I hope the show will be amazing, and congratulations to the winner!

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Now, on to the meat and potatoes of this blog: The Jane Austen Book Club!

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Truthfully, I did get a little busy in September, and reading carried over into October, but for the most part, it was read in September.

I do think that Northanger Abbey is my least favorite of the Jane Austen novels. The first part is all very fun, and witty, and I can definitely laugh about all of Catherine and Isabella's shananigans. But the first part was also unsettling, as I saw Catherine's naivitee in me, especially in her friendship with Isabella.

Catherine Morland, our heroine, was the oldest daughter of a country minister and his wife, and was invited to go to Bath for the social season with neighbors. Apparently, that was a thing back in the day, and the first few days Catherine and her chaperone, Mrs. Allan, had no one to talk to at the balls and plays they went to. It was considered improper to introduce yourself to random strangers (probably presumptuous), so they mostly kept to themselves, and people watched.

That would instantly kill my mood and desire to be there, if I couldn't talk to anyone (despite being pretty introverted, and only into my own friends, I'd try to get to know people). Luckily, it didn't last long because Mrs. Allan's childhood friend and her family arrived. Catherine is introduced to Isabella Thorpe, who charms her into friendly submission.

It's amazing who you'll meet in a Jane Austen novel. Isabella is exactly the person most people are drawn to for short periods of time: Someone who can be fun, interesting, extremely sweet, but at the same time, self-serving, vile, and malicious. She is basically Regina George.

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Throughout the first half of the story, Regina -- I mean, Isabella! -- befriends Catherine under the pretense of friendship, but uses her for her own gains. While being courted by Catherine's brother, James, she pushes her own brother, John (who is quite pushy, himself) at Catherine, ignoring Catherine's feelings for Henry Tilney, whose sister, Eleanor, is also a new friend to Catherine. Isabella is the girl who claims to hate drama, but airs all of her dirty laundry on facebook.

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I also related to Catherine's feelings for Isabella's brother, John. The man was pushy, proud, opinionated, and tried to convince Catherine to feel something sooner than she was ready. She tried to be kind, she tried to be polite, especially because of her friendship with Isabella, and because of John's friendship with James. Apparently, because your brother has a good friend, that basically means you're his future wife.

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Thank God for calm, rational people like Henry and Eleanor Tilney. These were two people interested in Catherine, for herself, and were potentially lonely people looking for a friend. They loved Catherine for herself, and nothing more. These are the people that everyone hopes to find one day.

The second half of the book is where it got a bit strange, to me. Catherine went to Northanger Abbey with Eleanor, Henry, and their father, General Tilney. No amount of pleading from Isabella could stop her, either. It was nice that for once Catherine was able to show some backbone.

I didn't care for the second half of the book. It was slow moving, but once it was done, I felt it moved too quickly into a resolution. Catherine and Henry falling in love was obvious, but she did almost lose him due to her immaturity, and inablility to understand the difference between real life and stories.
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Though, I do relate.

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I'm dying to hear if anyone else read Northanger Abbey this month, too! What are your thoughts? Met any Johns or Isabellas that made your life a living hell? How about your own Henry Tilney? 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Rebekah!

    I have never read any of Jane Austen's work; I tried once and was bored out of my mind ha ha. But you have sparked some interest in me! Loved your review, and your hilarious accompanying memes. Very entertaining! I might just give Northanger Abbey a try... xoxo

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    1. Hey, Ashley! If you can't get through it, watch the 2007 (?) movie version with Felicity Jones and JJ Field. It does a good job of conveying information faster than the book. :-) Plus, JJ Field is adorable.

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  2. I actually quite love Henry Tilney. He is my second favourite Austen hero :) and your review is great. Laughed out loud at the regina george part, brilliant!

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    1. Henry is great. He's very funny, but can be serious when he needs to be. It's very easy to fall in love with him.

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