Saturday, January 4, 2014

Sense and Sensibility: Joanna Trollope's 21st Century Update

Sense & Sensibility (The Austen Project)Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apparently, HarperCollins is embarking on a project of bringing some of the best-loved Jane Austen classics into the 21st century with modernized retellings. Joanna Trollope's is to be the first of three by three different writers.

I found this updated version of Sense and Sensibility to be charming and delightful. Trollope's retelling is true to the characters of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood as Austen wrote them, even if Elinor is in her last year of architecture school and Marianne is a talented, if unambitious, guitar player.

Okay, so it doesn't make as much since in the 21st century that three grown women can't support themselves than it did in Austen's time, but I was willing to overlook the plot holes because the Dashwoods are such likable women - yes, even little Margaret, who's a bit more of a bratty teen in this version than in previous incarnations.

One caveat, though: if you simply cannot abide the use of such terms as "amazeballs" and "totes amazeballs" in dialogue, steer clear of this novel. It's not that the entire novel is written in that style, it's just that a few characters talk that way when they're among other young people  (and some of them are the more obnoxious characters you love to hate anyway, so it's obviously intended to be annoying). Joanna of the illustrious Trollope family tree is perhaps a little too good at capturing 2010s textspeak and slang.

Disclosure: I received this book at no cost through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review in any other way.

Further disclosure: I've never actually read the original Sense and Sensibility. I read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which uses a lot of Austen's original text, and I've also seen the movie adaptation that stars Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet as Elinor and Marianne. I still love Alan Rickman's portrayal of Colonel Brandon in that movie.

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