I’ve thought about doing “reviews in chapters” thing for Emma for quite some time before ultimately rejecting the idea, so that’s why my latest update on Classics Club challenge is later than expected.
News #1: I finally finished Little Men! (Click here for review.) I say “finally” because I’ve been up and down with this book for more than a year. Originally started on my Kindle – since it was a free ebook and all -, which was the worst idea ever, then I bought a physical copy to finish off the last one-fourth… which I did, only half a year later.
Anyway, I’m glad I read Little Men, even though it’s so very different from Little Women. I did have mostly good time reading this, only I don’t like its preach-y tone. And its many saint-like adults. It’s ALL ABOUT IDEALISM. Ack. I wish I had read this as a child. I’M TOO DISILLUSIONED FOR THIS.
News #2: I’ve made some progress with Measure for Measure since my last update. I’m at the point during which the Duke and Isabella cook up the scheme to disguise rich-girl-turned-poor-and-spurned-by-her-fiancé as Isabella to fulfill her (Isabella’s) end of the bargain of sleeping with the corrupt Angelo aka said greedy ex-fiancé so he will spare Isabella’s brother’s life for sleeping with his fiancée before marriage (which only came to light because he got her pregnant). Yep. At this point the plot is becoming really ridiculous, although I guess that’s what plays are supposed to do.
News #3: I’ve made little progress on the other front as well: Emma by Jane Austen. I just (okay, a week or two ago) finished Chapter 15, at the end of which Emma and Mr. Elton part their ways angrily because Emma just found that she has been wrong about Elton being in love with Harriet who was just pretending to pay attention to poor Harriet because he actually wants the well-off Emma, not orphaned Harriet. Think about it: Emma must be realizing that her ability as a matchmaker was actually bogus (this time) and that she teared Harriet and Mr. Martin (a farmer who Emma thought was “not good enough” for her new friend) for no reason at all! And she had made Harriet be all hopeful, although I must admit that Harriet is a bit too easily influenced by Emma to make up her own mind. I wager she won’t be crushed too much.
Emma’s character has Lizzy’s wit but less of her playfulness (especially making fun of herself), and she’s intelligent but too lazy to educate herself further. She grew up without a mother, which has made her into a loving and protective but spoiled daughter to her fretting father. The only opinion Emma cares about is Mr. Knightley’s, but not in the I’m-mooning-about-him-and-want-to-do-only-what-he-thinks-is-good way. Mr. Knightley – that is, the elder one – is kind and firm, disciplined and intellectual yet wry and likes a good argument. The younger Knightley, John, who married Emma’s older sister Isabella (ha, another Isabella) is quite full of himself, actually. And opinionated towards his father-in-law when really, he [John Knightley] ought to let things slide to a certain extent since the poor old one is doing no harm (except for being annoying sometimes) and is anyway too old to change himself. Isabella is much of a mother hen whose worries are largely directed towards her own children. And she follows her husband’s opinions, not much intentionally as being too busy/not interested to form her own opinion.
I actually know the general plot, having watched an adaptation (with Gwyneth Paltrow) before. So it was really funny to see Mr. Elton’s awkward courtship and Emma interpreting it as she wants to and thinking things like, He really must be in love with our Harriet if he thinks she is witty!
EDIT: Fiddlesticks, I totally forgot about News #4: JO’S BOYS by Louisa May Alcott
After finishingLittle Men, the curiosity got the better of me and I started reading about what has happened to all the Marches and Bhaers and Laurences and Brooks and surrogate-Bhaers aka Nan, Dan, Nat, Tom (Tommy Bangs), etc.
I am currently at chapter 5, and it seems Nan and Tom are studying Medicine, the former out of burning passion and the latter to stay close to the former, who won’t settle down for anyone. Nat is going to go to Germany for a while to learn music and is still hopelessly in love with Daisy with her mother (Meg) firmly saying “no”. Dan has always had restless feet, and now he’s seen quite a bit of the world, it seems. And Dan being Dan, it was done in simple, wild style. Must be his Indian [Native American] blood, Mrs Jo thinks. Now that the youngest kids from Little Men are in their teens, we get to see more of Josie Brooks, Bess Lawrence and Teddy Bhaer (Ha. Punny name.). Oh, and Jo has become famous for writing stories for children and there is a chapter in which she tries to dodge reporters and fans. It was quite hilarious. I wonder whether that part is semi-autobiographical as well?