This is the sixth in my series of posts wherein I write reviews for classic books in the form of letters to the characters. I’m re-reading all of Jane Austen’s books in 2016, and now I’m almost to the end. I was originally supposed to read Northanger Abbey in September, but due to the I’m sure hilarious from afar neverending comedy of errors that is my life right now, I didn’t get to it until October, and pushed writing the review until the last possible minute. Anyways, I’d only read this one once before, and I was much dumber at the time, so I definitely enjoyed it more. It’s shorter and sassier than her more mature stuff, but the meta/parodic nature of it doesn’t quite make up for a lack of pathos. Give me the FEELINGS. (Spoilers for a two hundred year old book to follow.)
(Please note, this is the shortest one of these yet, because it’s been too long since I read it, and also, I don’t have much to say? Sorry.)
Dear General Tilney,
I can’t believe you made that poor girl ride home alone seventy miles in that carriage just because you thought she’d lied about being poor. You asshole.
I hate to say this because I want to like you, but you’re sort of . . . boring. I mean, maybe that’s the point, though. You’re just nice and normal and a good friend. You’re not a tragical gothic heroine who pines after sociopaths or any nonsense like that.
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Allen,
You’re just kinda dingbats, aren’t ya. I mean, you’re all right, I guess. But you’re just kinda THERE.
Dear James Morland,
You have appalling taste in women.
Dear Henry Tilney,
You’re pretty dreamy, actually. Talk books to me some more, please. Just, for like, fifty pages or something. I’d probably be good after that. Probably.
Dear John & Isabella Thorpe,
I was on your side from the minute the narrator said you were “in training for a heroine.” Your story may not be super deep and emotional, but it’s a fun way to think about the lines between fiction and reality. And not just in stories, but in actual life itself. You learn the hard way that the way people act isn’t always representative of who they are. It’s painful to watch you flail around Northanger Abbey, seeing stuff that isn’t there and making a boob out of yourself, but all the more satisfying to see you learn from your mistakes.