Jane Austen Book Club: Sense & Sensibility

My high school prom dress my mum made me a Jane Austen inspired gown.
This past month I have read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility for the #JaneAustenBookClub with Erin of Quintessentially English.  While I have seen the film starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet a number of times I have never before read the book.  After a month I have been led to believe that all books should be read first before you see the film.  This is a fundamental rule I try to live by as an adult and pass on to my children as we make our way through the Harry Potter series together.  To be fair I have only read Pride and Prejudice (again and again) up until this book club and have lived vicariously through Jane Austen in film.  
After completing the book I have been left to feel like Sense and Sensibility may be one of my least favourite books by Jane Austen.  Basically it was hard enough to read without picturing the actors who had portrayed the characters in the ’95 film version.  It was disheartening to find that some of the characters did not come off the same way on paper as they did on film.  An exception to this though would be Mr. Palmer (portrayed in the film by Hugh Laurie) who was one of my favourites in the film and made me laugh in the book with his muttered comments. 
A Favourite Line
 F R O M   T H E   B O O K 
“Lady Middleton could no longer endure such a conversation, and therefore exerted herself to ask Mr. Palmer if there was any news in the paper. “No, none at all,” he replied, and read on.”
Sense and Sensibility Chapter 19
A Favourite Line
 F R O M   T H E   F I L M   
Charlotte Palmer: Oh, if only this rain would stop! 

Mr. Palmer: If only you would stop. 

I think the reason the book Sense and Sensibility did not resonate with me as well as the Ang Lee film version was due the acting of Alan Rickman.  Honestly the video clip below where he comes in to see Marianne playing the piano says it all.  It is as if the world has stopped and all he can see is her.  I remember seeing that scene for the first time as a teenager and wanting so much to be loved like that.  To have someone look at me the way Col. Brandon looked at Marianne with all those stolen glances. The way he was always there for her even when she did not realise his love for her.  
It gets down to the climatic scene near the end where a drenched Marianne  is being carried back to the house by Col. Brandon. To me it was the most romantic scene in the film.  Then I read the book and it came across less romanticized and more about practicality or duty.  Col. Brandon had been dealt not the best of hands of life and it only seemed a good fit that Marianne put aside her silly notion of sensibility and marry him because it was a good match for him.  In the book I did not really feel they fell in love as it seemed they did in the film and I think that is how the film ruined the book for me. 
“to see Marianne settled at the Mansion-house was equally the wish of Edward and Elinor. 
They each felt his sorrows and their own obligations, and Marianne, 
by general consent, was to be the reward of all.” – Jane Austen

Margaret: It’s going to rain.
Marianne: It is not going to rain.
Margaret: You always say that and then it always does.
In the end I liked reading the book but it seemed harder to get through than reading my favourite, Pride and Prejudice, which I am staring to read again this month for July. Feel free to join in on the Jane Austen Book Club. You can link up with Erin with your posts and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #JaneAustenBookClub  

FUN FACT: Did you know actor Greg Wise, who portrayed Willoughby, 
married the actress who played Elinore, Emma Thompson?

If you have read the book or scene the film I would love to hear your thoughts!

*photos sourced and photograph of myself belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007-2013 All Rights Reserved

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13703573853893790656 Gina Howie

    I loved reading your review! Your high school prom dress is gorgeous and you look beautiful. Jane Austen would have been proud. The movie occupied my mind the whole time I was reading too. There is nothing better than the scene when Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon comes in to Marianne singing and playing piano. The look of love on his face was so memorable. It did kind of ruin things for the book for me as well. I have never read Pride and Prejudice so I am looking forward to seeing how it compares.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06058056977783867772 Sara Louise

    I love your prom dress! What a wonderfully, unique idea! And the color you chose was beautiful on you :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01079473916722620673 Erika @ CHiMERiKAL.com

    I’ve never read any of the Jane Austen books, but they’ve been on my list since seeing and liking Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version).

    I’m kind of the opposite of you — I like watching the movie first because then I feel like it’s an extra delight when I read the book — as there are always extra details that you never get. I also find that if I read the book first, I’m always disappointed by the movie whereas the other way around, I tend to like both even more. But I do get your argument of how a movie sort of infuses its interpretation of the characters on your imagination and that’s hard to get rid of… it’s for that reason that I have two sets of Harry Potter characters running through my mind at any given time when I’m reading the books… haha. :)


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10414621469335501102 Erin Moran

    I loved your review Bonnie! It is disappointing that for once the film actually seemed better than the book. I did love Mr. Palmer in both the book and the film. He was the only character that actually made me laugh out loud.

    And I really didn’t know that Emma Thompson and Greg Wise got married! How funny!

    Thanks for joining The Quintessentially English Jane Austen Book Club!

    Erin x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02924287399418536406 Holly Nelson

    Hi Bonnie, so happy to have found your blog through the Jane Austen book club,it is beautiful! I loved Mr Palmer, such a small character, but so indicative of Austen’s sense of humour! You picked some great quotations from him! Your prom dress was amazing, I tried to achieve something similar for my prom and had my hair in ringlets etc. I also agree that Alan Rickman really brought the character alive in the film. This was a fab review, I enjoyed reading it!