Back in July, I joined the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word. You can read about my challenge list here. So far I have not done a good job convincing myself that I will actually finish the challenge as originally planned (or at all). It is the middle of October and I’ve only completed two items. I’m having a hard time getting through Pride and Prejudice and don’t want to push it because I love the book too much. There is no way I’m going to be able to read both the original and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the end of the year. But, I will keep doing what I can and maybe swap out a few books for movies in the end (I feel like a high school student).
I did watch Mansfield Park recently. I really didn’t care for the book when I read it last year, so I wanted to give the story another chance to gain my good opinion. I can say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but I’m still not in love with it and it is still by far my least favorite Austen novel.
In order to make the movie likeable at all, they had to make Fanny Price likeable. She drove me crazy in the book and they changed her in the movie. But by making her stronger, I think they failed to show how much she loved Edmund all her life.
Speaking of, the whole cousins-raised-as-siblings love story didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as reading the book did. I actually found myself cheering for them. And the scene when they are driving back to Mansfield Park and they hold hands and Edmund falls asleep on her shoulder – it gave me butterflies.
A few of the things that I liked best about the book were changed. Her relationship with her brother – that was changed to her sister. Sir Thomas’ interest in her when he returns from Antigua was there but not really. And some of the character quirks in Mrs. Norris’ awful ways and Mr. Rushworth’s self-love. Also, I don’t remember the slave-trade playing a large role in the book but perhaps I overlooked it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I watched this movie over a period of three days and was getting ready for work or ironing throughout the whole thing, so I may not have gotten the full movie experience. But I’m glad I saw it and got a chance to reevaluate Mansfield Park. Perhaps I don’t dislike it quite as much as I used to.