Book Review - Northanger Abbey (Audio)


Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Star Rating: 4.5/5

I have to begin this entry with a huge thank you to Alex of The Paperback Piano for introducing me to a fantastic new audiobooks app.  She's a brilliant book blogger and awesome person, so go check her out.  Instagram  = @paperbackpiano .  Alex blogged here about listening to some audio versions of classic books for free, so picture me leaning in closer and getting more info stat!  The app is called Librivox.  Sing this with me...a whole new wooooooorld!  You can get a free version (with ads), but the paid version is only $2, so I went ahead and just bought it.  Suffice to say, my life is changed.  Onto the review*!

*FYI, I listened to the version narrated by Elizabeth Klett, who did a fantastic job!

Ah, Jane Austen.  She's just so delightful!  I think I often have a mindset when reading classic literature that I'm not going to be able to relate because it was such a different time.  In some ways, though, it's really not.  I found myself pulled into the story more deeply than I the point where I was driving with the book going, got a surprise in the plot, and audibly gasped before exclaiming, "No!  You're joking!"  It's such an enjoyable read!

First, let's address the humor in the book.  So I went into this story having always heard it's a bit of a piss-take on gothic novels.  I can totally see that, but Miss Austen does it with so much class.  Man, we've really lost the art of the roast. 😆 The subtle gibes, I think, add to the story rather than distract from it.  Due to the slightly over dramatic tendencies of the main character, Catherine, I think this book would do very well with a Bridget Jones' Diary-esque treatment.

Another example of how things have stayed the same through all these years is the way people read into the smallest things, especially when dealing with romantic relationships and someone like Isabella.  Their conversations about what this phrase or that look actually meant cracked me up.

And can we talk about bros - proper bros - and their dumb obsession with cars...carriages rather.  If you read/listen to this book, you will get what I mean.  This one character would not shut up about his dang horses and carriages.  Ohmigoodness.  Duuuuuuuude.  It makes me laugh even now.  It feels like Jane Austen came forward in time to today, observed all the people who talk big about their Audis and BMWs or whatever and then went back and translated it in all it's puffed up glory for her audience.  I kid you not; the resemblance is uncanny.

The characters were all really clearly defined in this story, and it was really entertaining to listen to.  I do feel like the story fell down a little bit at the end - an issue with some not-well-defined people and events, which Austen actually sort of admits to in the narration - but it was okay.  The ending made me happy anyway.

All in all, such a fun story with really amusing characters.  It stands up to the test of time in so many ways, and I absolutely loved it!