The Smart One and the Pretty One

The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik

So I read this book years ago when my friend gave it to me. I kind of forgot about it, but then it came back to the front of my mind when I read The Dashwood Sisters Tell All. 

I meant to do a review of of it then, but then was distracted by other things-you know life.

But lately I have been watching Austentatious, and the character of Marianne made me think of this book again, so I figured why not review it?

The Nickerson sisters have always been known as the “smart” one and the “pretty” one. Ava Nickerson is the older sister, the smart one. She does everything right, is an attorney, pays bills on time, cares little about what she wears or her hairdos.

Elinor Dashwood

Lauren is the pretty one-drop dead gorgeous and a fashionista. She always has a boyfriend, going with her emotions, etc.

She isn’t very financially secure-she in a lot of debt as her credit cards are all maxed out.

Lauren screws up at work as she was trying to seduce a rich guy, only to find out he’s married. She loses her job and is a loss at what to do, or how to achieve her dream of owning her own shop. The creditors are at the door, when she gets news that her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. She packs up all her stuff and heads home.

See ya!

Back in Los Angeles, at her parent’s home, Lauren was looking through a “junk” drawer, and she finds a contract her mother and her mother’s best friend made a long time ago. The contract was signed by the mothers, and their seven year old children, that if by 30 the two were single, than a marriage will be done between Russell Markowitz and Ava.

As Lauren grows tired of her big sister’s financial lectures, budgeting, taxes, etc-she hunts Russell down to set them up. Russell is charming, handsome, twice-divorced, and runs a clothing company.

Not exactly marriage material…but that doesn’t stop Lauren. She’s sure that this is the best plan to loosen up her sister and get her perfect match.

So I didn’t like this book…

Ava is the responsible one who learns that she doesn’t just have to be “smart”, but can care about her appearance as well. She has been afraid to make a commitment to any guy, and finally starts opening her heart.

That wouldn’t be so bad, except the guy she picks is Russell, a jerk who cares about himself and the woman he can turn Ava into.

Yeah, he gives her a bunch of clothes and starts dictating her life and choices and how things will be worn.

And while Ava falls hard for him, there is no indication he really cares for her at all.

And for a book that is supposed to be about sisters, it seems more concentrated on the older sister’s storyline than equally showing them. Spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants Lauren pretty much stays the same: focused on her clothes and appearance. She does try to help her mother out with chemo, but still is irresponsible, bad at managing her time, etc. She never really learns about not spending too much, or the value of saving; just has one remorseful purchase. It was as if nothing changed her.

Ugh, I just can’t stand how all these modern adaptions portray Sense and Sensibility. People always make the Marianne character so dumb! In Austen’s portrayal she isn’t an airhead but young!!!! young, impressionable, romantic girl. Not a dunce!

She’s like most teenage girls-young, naive, romantic, think they know it all. So please, please, stop making her so dumb.

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious (2015)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

A Sense of Sense and Sensibility

So those of you who have been following me for a while are aware of a challenge I made a year ago. You see 2013 was the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice being published.

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I was going to do this whole series of posts on the book, books based off of it, films, etc. You know, the whole nine yards. (Go here to read more about it). Unfortunately…

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Life happened and got me off course. (Click here to read more about it) But I promised to continue to reread the book, watch the films, read the inspired fiction, etc until I had completed it all. It is a very long process and I have yet to finish it. However, as I was making these posts, I started thinking about how all the other books were being ignored. That made me sad, so I decided that I would read all her books, inspired fiction, film, etc.; at the same time and review them!

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Yay that’s a lot, but it’ll mean that all her books will get a voice. Especially the widely ignored ones like Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and Mansfield Park. 

So the next book I’m going to start doing a lot of posts on is Sense and Sensibility.

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Sense & Sensibility was the first Jane Austen book to be published. Before Sense & Sensibility Jane Austen had written Pride & Prejudice and sold it to a publisher. Unfortunately, that company didn’t publish it at all, but just sat on her work.

How rude

Jane Austen bought the book back and instead went to work on another one Sense & Sensibility. She sent this one to a different publisher and the work actually went through in 1811. So this book was the one that really set her up as a writer, and developed fans, making the publishing of Pride & Prejudice in 1813 feasible and accepted.

So all you Pride & Prejudice fangirl and fanboys better say a hearty thank you to Sense & Sensibility because without it, Austen might have become so discouraged that she never wrote anything else. And who could picture a world without her in it?

Here's to another 200 years!

Here’s to another 200 years!

What also makes this book special is that it is the only one to have two main characters, Marianne and Elinor. Persuasion is all about Anne, Northanger Abbey focused on Catherine, Emma is Emma’s story, Mansfield Park‘s attention is on Fanny, and Pride & Prejudice is all about Elizabeth. Yep, this is the only story that two characters are equally represented. You know what else that means? Double the Austen Heroes.

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So get ready for the sense:

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And the Sensibility

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Here are a list of other adaptions that I will also be reviewing.

Books:

Sense & Sensibility: A BabyLit Opposites Primer by Jennifer Adams

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE edited by Christina Boyd

Rational Creatures: Elinor & Marianne edited by Christina Boyd

The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film by Emma Thompson & Others

Reason and Romance (Austen Series #2) by Debra White Smith

Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Comic Book) by Nancy Butler & Others

Scones and Sensibility by Lindsay Eland

So Into You (The Jane Austen Academy) by Cecilia Gray

Colonel Brandon’s Diary (Jane Austen Heros) by Amanda Grange

Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation by Jane Odiwe

The Second Chance: A ‘Pride & Prejudice’ – ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Variation by Joana Starnes

Sense and Sensibility (The Austen Project) by Joanne Trollope

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters

Film:

Sense and Sensibility (1971)

Sense and Sensibility (1981)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Material Girls (2006)

Cow Belles (2006)

Sense and Sensibility (2008)

From Prada to Nada (2011)

Scents and Sensibility (2011)

We Are Family: Austentatious, Episode 1 (2015)

Big Girls Don’t Cry: Austentatious, Episode 2 (2015)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Austentatious, Episode 3 (2015)

Call Me, Maybe: Austentatious, Episode 4 (2015)

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For more on Sense & Sensibility, go to Opening With…

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels

For more on my love of Jane Austen’s work, go to Fanning All Over the Place

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Simply Fantastic