Tuesday, 1 December 2009

How Jane Austen dealt with tentacles

A few months ago I was sent a book by Quirk Classics. 'And could I please read and review it?' Well, it's taken a bit of time, but I've finally finished it. So, here's the review!

The ultimate film/television series of Pride and Prejudice is the BBC-adaption with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. And when I read that book, I could easily visualise Elizabeth Bennet kicking behinds and wielding a big knife. The ultimate film/television series of Sense and Sensibility is the Ang Lee film with Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. And for some reason I couldn't quite picture Alan Rickman with tentacles hanging from his face!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters has a great title, but I felt it had just a tad too many sea monsters injected into the story. Some of it was quite funny, other bits were just weird or even plain stupid. Yes, PPZ had bits added that weren't in the original, but it was an enhancement to the story; SSSM had bits added and not all of them fit. PPZ stayed true to its era; SSSM veered away from it on occasion, especially the rubber suits!

However, most of my issues were with Elinor Dashwood. Elinor is a likable woman, she has the most sense of the whole family and keeps her feelings close to her chest. But here she's also portrayed as quite dim and even a bit cold. Not really noticing that there's a crack in the underwater dome, even when everything is happening to Marianne, is not something I would expect from her. And her turning away from a servant in distress while he is being devoured by fish right in front of the house, makes her quite selfish and very unlikable.
The others are more or less portrayed in a similar way to the original, although two characters are given a bit more of a story: Mr Palmer and Lady Middleton, both stories adding to the general feel of the book.

Now, the question of course is: would I recommend this book to anyone? Well, yes! I would. In the Netherlands books by Jane Austen are on the reading list for English classes in high school and this would fit perfectly and perhaps even get some boys reading these great books.
For anybody who already loves Jane Austen's books, it will be a fun addition as well. Yes, you will always compare the book to the original and to the films and television series that have been made, but that in itself is not such a bad thing. Comparing the two will only make your love for the original grow and perhaps open your mind to other adaptations of other classics.

If you don't mind orang-utans, octopusses, pirates and a lot of water intruding the world of Jane Austen that is...


  1. I want to read jane austin books
    I will eventually

  2. Recently we've had a series on TV based on Pride and Prejudice. A modern girl, who is a great fan of Jane Austin and living in modern London exchanges her modern life with Elizabeth Bennet's life in Victorian England. She knows everything about Pride and Prejudice and tries to tell everybody and especially Darcy what they should do and what will happen. No need to tell that everything is not what it ought to be. It was very funny!


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!