Mansfield Park

My reading list from the past few months.
Thanks to b.a. for the idea to share it this way.
Thanks to two nice naps with Fitz, I finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen a few weeks ago. I had read it before, sometime in high school or at the beginning of college, and I hated it. The premise is that Fanny Price goes to live with a rich uncle when she is nine years old because her own family is so poor. She is ignored and mistreated most of the time, but has a kind cousin, Edmund, who cares about her feelings and gives her good advice. She loves Edmund, but since he only thinks of a sister, she is his confidante when he falls in love with seemingly sweet Miss Crawford. She waits and waits in pain until the end which ends like a romance should. I always wondered why Jane Austen would have created such a weak-willed, pathetic heroine.

I have a knack for forgetting most of the details and part of the plot of any story I read or movie I watch. This is a little unfortunate since I love reading so much, but it works out nicely when I want to read a book and can’t get to the library or bookstore. We got Mansfield Park on Netflix, because my nice husband lets me put movies I want to watch on the subscription he got for Christmas. It had lots of “scandalous” insinuations that I was sure weren’t present in the book, but despite the parts I suspected weren’t true, I enjoyed the movie. I decided to give the book antoher whirl.

Although it wasn’t the fastest moving, most romantic love story in the world, there were a few things I liked about it. First, it was realistic. There was no unlikely match between a rich older man and a poor younger woman–just two like-minded people who are in love. And one of those people wasted time liking someone else because he let her flashy exterior distract him from her selfish heart. People aren’t perfect, and even the main characters that you root for throughout this book are imperfect. Second, the book ended with repentence from some of the characters. Edmund repented of his interest in Miss Crawford and Sir Thomas Bertram (Edmund’s father) repented of the way he had treated Fanny and the way he had raised his children. Beyond repentence, Sir Thomas went forward and did good, inviting Fanny’s younger sister to live with them and be provided for. Lastly, I could see why Fanny was so timid this time around, and had compassion on her in her anxiety rather than disdain.

If you’re interested in the movie, this version is entertaining, although it is not terribly thorough and adds some unnecessary (ie: not in the book) sexual undertones. This version, with Billie Piper, made for Masterpiece on PBS looks like it will have more undertones and be even less accurate. This mini-series version is on my Netflix instant queue, and I’ve watched four of the six episodes.

Are there any book-to-movie combinations you love?

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