Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

December 2, 2014 Audio Books, Classics 19

Salutations, Bookworms!

Last month I read Charlie Lovett’s First Impressions (review) and it reminded me that I still had one lonely unread novel to complete the Austen canon. I decided it was TIME. Time to visit Mansfield Park! Since I had such a stellar experience with the audio version of Northanger Abbey (review) I decided to try Mansfield Park on for size aurally. (Spoiler Alert: That was an excellent idea.)

mansfieldparkI don’t typically take a lot of notes while I read, but this time I did and I’m going to give them to you (mostly) unfiltered, because, well, I think my note-writing self is funnier than my right-this-second self. Before we get there though, a synopsis. It’s early 19th Century England, and therein live three sisters. One marries rich, one marries poor, and one marries intermediately. The rich one is completely indolent, but has some kids. Because she’s rich, she doesn’t really have to do anything what with all the servants and governesses and such. The poor one had 8 zillion kids and is extra super poor as a result. She’s probably too busy with her 8 zillion kids to notice she’s broke. The intermediate one is childless and annoyed that she’s not richer, so she spends most of her time being horrible and sticking her face in other people’s business (that’s Mrs. Norris. More about her later.) Intermediate sister decides that rich sister should take in one of poor sister’s kids because she wants to appear charitable without actually having to do anything. Fanny Price is thus fostered to rich sister and her family, wherein she falls totally in love with her cousin (which would be gross, but it was once a totally acceptable thing so I’m trying not to judge.) Anyway. The cousin is rich, older, and a catch, so Fanny’s chances are crap. A lovelorn little Cinderella, our Fanny Price. And now for my reactions…

1. I like Mrs. Norris about as much as I like Filch’s cat. Which is to say, of course, not at all. I wouldn’t mind seeing this shrew petrified. SHE JUST KEEPS GETTING WORSE! Wicked, onerous woman!

2. I’m loving audio books for Austen. I think the aristocratic accents add to the experience.

3. Mr. Rushworth’s obsession with height is cracking me up! “Mr. Crawford is so short. Short shorty short short. Who cares if I’m incredibly dull? At least I’m tall!”

4. Crawford is a SCOUNDREL, what with his flirting with Maria and then trying to bewitch Fanny for sport. Pfft! (He only gets worse, BTW.) Interestingly, his name does not start with a ‘W’ like Wickham and Willoughby. There goes my theory about Jane having her heart broken by a dude with a ‘W’ name.

5. Fanny is rather Cinderella-ish. Not quite, but almost. She’d need some singing forest creatures and fewer actual maids to really make it work.

 Yes. That just happened. I managed to compare a woman to a caretaker’s cat and wish good riddance to them both. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a fine day’s work to me. Tell me something, bookworms. Do you ever take notes while you read? 

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19 Responses to “Mansfield Park by Jane Austen”

  1. bhalsop

    I love Mansfield Park because it is the one in which Jane makes clear her distaste for slavery in the US. It is true that Fanny does not have the gumption of some of Jane’s other heroines, but that comes from lack of education at an early age as much as anything. Crawford is as evil a scoundrel as any Jane has made up, and it is only fitting that he be refused by a very poor woman.

  2. Hobbie DeHoy

    I adore MP and love it better every year… I always think Fanny is the quietest, but the toughest, of Austen heroines. I don’t think we even realize today how earth-shaking it was for Fanny to refuse Mr. Crawford, especially with all the pressure to say yes from everyone around her. Fanny has such a clear vision of the people around her; nobody’s going to hoodwink (or bully)her into anything!

  3. Megan M.

    I don’t think I’ve ever taken notes while reading fiction. I do have a notebook where I will sometimes mention what I’m reading and what I think of it. I do take notes when I’m playing Nancy Drew PC games, though. Those puzzles be mad hard.

  4. ThatAshGirl

    Not a note taker either. Loved this book, probably my fave next to P&P. Loved Edmund. Didn’t hurt that Jonny Lee Miller played him in the kinda cheesy 90s movie. But if you haven’t seen it, you must! Mrs. Norris was horrid but who I really wanted to smack was Mary Crawford!

  5. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I think Henry Crawford is so unfairly maligned! He’s a jerk at the beginning, but he really tries to become someone Fanny could love. I always feel Jane Austen sabotages him at the end — it feels out of character for who Henry had become.

    • Words For Worms

      He certainly did seem to improve for a while there, but then that douchey move at the end. Perhaps he was a more complex character than he got credit for.

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