Ok, in theory "Emma" deserves five stars merely because it is written by Jane Austen. My favorite author of all time.
However the reality is quite different. This is my second time reading this book, and I really desperately wanted to love it. But I just can't. I do like
it, but I do not love
it. It is a little peculiar since it's normally claimed as one of the most significant novels of all time (and always mentioned among Austen's best work). Perhaps it's just me.
The main problem is that I do not like Emma. She is narrowminded, selfish and sometimes even stupid. Of course she's changing for the better in the course of the novel, and in fact her character reminds me a little bit of Marianne Dashwood. But as I was willing to forgive Marianne her faults, I just cannot find it in me to forgive Emma. She may learn her lesson, but I do not think it sufficient.
And then there's Mr. Knightley, who is almost absent (perhaps not psychically but emotionally) the entire novel, and then suddenly turns out to be Emma's love interest. I am not impressed with Mr. Knightley; he may be picture perfect and completely righteous, but I do think him awkward in the role of a supposed lover.
Of course Austen has a point with everything she writes, and I am aware that Emma is how she is for a reason. I also know the morale, the lesson employed on her, and I do think it brilliant and very typical Austen. It's like I know
how genius the plot truly is, I just can't appreciate it properly. As if the novel is good in theory, but not in practice. At least that is how I feel. Sadly this book is not for me.