August 15, 2012

Austen in August Read-A-Long Week One of Three

This month, one of my favorite book bloggers, Misty @ The Book Rat is hosting "Austen in August," two weeks full of giveaways, guests, interviews, reviews and more of all things relating to Jane Austen. She is also having a Persuasion Read-A-Long where you can discuss and interpret with everyone else participating. For the read-a-long, Misty provided us with some questions to help guide us for discussion and you will find my answers to those below for the "Beginning: Chapters 1-7."

This is the first time I have read Persuasion, and well anything by Jane Austen for that matter. I have been meaning to read some of her works for quite sometime, but was a little apprehensive with the language. I'll admit, I didn't think I was smart enough to read it at first, but once I started reading and some encouragement from Misty it wasn't at all an issue. And I can see more Austen in my future!

My first impressions of this book was, "Poor Anne, you really were dealt a nasty hand of cards for the game we call life." Anne is a character I hold near and dear to my heart because she is so relatable. She lost her mother at a young age, is invisible to her father and sister, Elizabeth, acknowledged by her sister Mary (who is too self involved and sick to really care), and under the wing of Lady Russell (a fairy god-mother if you well). Anne tries so hard to try and keep the peace and please everyone, but in return her needs are ignored by her family, especially her father. In fact, so far it seems the only time he took interest in her was when Anne fell in love and was to marry Captain Wentworth. 

You see Anne's father, Sir Walter Elliot, is of high standing in society and anyone who does not rank to his level or better is not worthy of joining the family, as was the case with Wentworth. He was essentially a nobody and Sir Walter would hear nothing of one of his daughters marrying him (no matter if Sir Walter didn't particularly care for the daughter in the first place). It just makes me sick! And Anne giving up Wentworth, a love that comes only once, due to her family's wishes is even more grotesque. However, I can't really blame Anne. If I were in her shoes I would probably do the same thing even though I would like to think if I were lucky enough to find a love like that, I would hold on to it. 

As for Wentworth's reaction, he has seemed unchanged, still charming and warm to everyone. Well everyone except Anne. To her he acts cold and distant. He makes little digs at her behind her back as well (a common theme I have noticed in this book. Can no one tell the person how they feel to their face?). Plus, he is always seen with two of the Musgrove girls on his arms (trying to make Anne jealous). Hell hath no fury than a man scorned?

I'm looking forward to see how the story unfolds with the family having money troubles, Mary using illness as a way to get attention, and Wentworth saying he has come to find a wife (that sounds a bit like Anne...hmm). Should be quite the read!