Alexander McCall Smith was selected to rewrite the great stories of Jane Austen, however his execution left something to be desired.
There was very little about this version of Emma that was different from the original. Some of the language had been updated and the accompaniments such as a Mini Cooper, however, these slight changes were not enough to convince me that Austen’s tale had been updated or improved upon at all.
Emma is still the same self-absorbed rich girl that we all know who befriends simple Harriet Smith and proceeds to set about match-making everyone in sight except for herself. There are many of the same events and personalities as the original including the drawing of Harriet, the picnic with Miss Bates, the elusive Mr. Churchill, and the anxious Mr. Woodhouse. However these similarities made the story fall flat rather than stand up by itself.
While McCall Smith did an admirable job of sticking to the original story, it was done in such a way that was too strict. Not to mention the overly verbose paragraphs about the background of Mr. Woodhouse and the internal monologue of Miss Taylor.
The plot itself, having not changed all that much was still interesting, a slow love story mixed in with other love stories, misdirection, misguided help, and a rather harsh protagonist. Austen might approve of how little the story was altered, but I, however was not that impressed.
Overall, it was not as new as I had anticipated and hoped it to be, having just finished Pemberly Digital’s “Emma Approved”, so I reluctantly gave it a solid three stars and called it a day. There wasn’t really much “modern” in Emma: A Modern Retelling.
Goodreads rating: 3 stars
My personal rating: 61
- Writing style – 6
- Plot – 8
- Dialogue – 7
- Personality of Main Character(s) – 7
- Love story – 6
- Invokes emotion – 3
- Synopsis accuracy – 8
- Consistent level of interest – 6
- Stays on topic – 6
- Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 4