Release Date: September 2009
Publisher: Quirk Classics
Author Site: http://www.benhwinters.com/,
Source: Copy provided by publisher
I haven't read many classics unless someone made me in High School and I just don't remember. I do know that I have yet to read anything by Jane Austen. However, I have wanted to her books for a while now. I enjoyed the movie version of Emma (with Gwyneth Paltrow) very much and have been interested in reading the book. I haven't seen Pride and Prejudice but that one is on my TBR list as well. So when I first saw that Jane Austen's classics were getting "re-vamped" I just had to laugh. Naturally, the idea made me curious but I felt I should definitely read the original versions before embarking on what could be someone's interesting idea gone horribly awry.
I received an email back in November asking if I'd like to review SENSE AND SENSIBILITY AND SEA MONSTERS and I was hesitant at first. I really wanted to read the original versions first but I eventually gave in and accepted the review inquiry. I had no idea what the book was about but I admit the blurb of the sea-monster version intrigued me. I knew if I liked this one I'd most likely enjoy the original so there was no need to worry about which I read first.
If you haven't already seen my rating then let me just say I have very mixed feelings about this book, so the rating was hard for me to pinpoint. In the beginning I was literally struggling to read it. Now, I know that the original text was put in the book and Ben Winters expanded on Jane Austen's writing with his "re-vamping" skills. So I don't really know if I had a tough time with Jane's writing or with Ben's... All I know is that I wanted to put the book down numerous times because I found myself confused while reading. I know a lot of has to do with Jane Austen and the way she writes. I think the classical style she used just didn't sit well with me. I had to re-read passages several times in order to fully understand what was going on. And the "re-vamping" wasn't helping my situation. I found myself not very happy with the sea monster feeling. Although I understood the snarkiness of it, I just didn't feel it meshed well.
About 2/3 into the book my feelings changed, NOT dramatically mind you, but I noticed I was actually enjoying the story and I think I finally had somewhat of a hold on the characters and their personalities. But I admit, the characters were hard to relate to and again I have no idea if it was the writing or the "re-vamping" of the writing that got to me. But back to what I was saying, the Dashwood sisters end up going to a Sub-Station underwater during the story and I think that is where I started to enjoy the book more. I also think I got used to the writing style of both authors by this time in the book. In the classic version I believe this is the part of the story where the Dashwood sisters go to London for a short while.
At the beginning of reading this book I was afraid to even think about reading the original version. But after completing it I'm much more confident that I will enjoy and hopefully come to better appreciate the classic SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. And a funny thing is the movie actually came on HBO a few days after I finished the book. I was so totally engrossed in the film and I definitely liked the fact that I knew who the characters were already. So I'll be reading the classic version, along with Austen's other novels. I will also be reading Quirck Classics other books which include PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and DAWN OF THE DREADFULS.