Sense and Sensibility by Gill Tavner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I kind of love that those classics that can be hard for adults to get through, are adapted and shortened for children to enjoy. I purchased the whole collection of Jane Austen Real Reads last summer I believe, hoping my daughters would get a glimpse into the world of Miss Austen.
I decided to give Sense and Sensibility a read this afternoon. It read very quickly, being only 54 pages long. The copy is made very sturdy. It isn't softcover, but isn't hardcover either. It is that weird in-between version. There is a dust jacket with a beautiful illustration of distraught Marianne being comforted by her older sister Elinor. There are similar colored illustrations throughout the book, with the pages being much thicker than normal pages.
I love the story of Sense and Sensibility, the newer BBC version of the movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. I thought this version of the story was well done. There is obviously a lot of the story details left out, considering its length. This version is told from the point of view of Margaret, the younger sister (who really has a very minor roll in the original). There was also a couple of times where events were kind of smushed together, and even characters (such as Ann and Lucy Steele becoming simply, Lucy Steele). I know some Austen fans might gasp in shock, but I don't think it hurts the story at all. I just think, a little condensed Jane Austen for young ones is better than no Jane Austen. My only complaint about the shortening and adapting in this specific novel is that the scene with Colonel Brandon finding Marianne in the rain was left out (although I have never fully completed the novel, so maybe that is just in the movies?). That is kind of one of my favorite parts, as it is the moment that Marianne begins to view Colonel Brandon in a different light, knowing how he rescued her.
I especially love how when the story ends, the book does not. At the back of the book, there is a bunch of information for budding minds! They explain how things were condensed and changed for space, and describe in detail how they were in the original novel. There is also a Back in Time section that explains what is was like to live in Miss Austen's time. Another section gives lists of more books and websites to further your Jane Austen interest, along with a few pages of discussion questions that leave your mind reviewing and really putting your thoughts together about what you just read. What more could a parent or teacher ask for in a Jane Austen introduction novel for young ones?
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