I came very late to an appreciation of Austen’s work — via a copy of Northanger Abbey some previous student had annotated with rather astute observations, actually. Emma is definitely not my favourite of Austen’s works; it seems to drag, and the whole situation is just embarrassing, with Emma being so stuck up and arrogant, but so naive. I’m not honestly sure why the character she marries in the end actually loves her, since he is a man of taste and discernment. Sure, she realises she’s been an idiot, but I’m not entirely sure she realises why and how not to do it again.
Since I get really bad second-hand embarrassment, then, it’s perhaps not surprising that Emma isn’t my favourite Austen, nor Emma my favourite of her heroines. Austen’s writing is still witty, her eye for character and the ridiculousness of people exacting, but… I just don’t like it. I’m glad I’ve now read it, but I wouldn’t read it again, and I recall enjoying Austen’s other novels rather more than this one, which felt like a chore.
There, Mum, are you happy I’m not a cuckoo in your nest now?