I love all her works (except Mansfield Park) and I've been a loyal fan since my mother first showed me the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (oh yes, the six hour version. I'm hardcore) but Emma is definitely one of my top three favorites. I know that often times, Emma is not one of Austen's most popular books because of our heroine, Emma. Honestly, I believe the book makes people look at the person in the mirror which can be a highly uncomfortable situation.
Jane Austen herself said that she did not think that many people would like Emma besides herself until the story was fully told. That's something I love about this novel. Emma is not made out to be perfect. In fact, this girl, this Miss Emma Woodhouse, has so many issues that it's honestly hilarious. Another thing is that I can RELATE to all Emma goes through, all the character flaws she has to overcome, and all the trouble she manages to cause because she just can't keep her nose out of other people's business. I personally love Emma and did from the very start because she's not a bad person. She just has sin problems like everyone else and she tries to do something about them. Of course, Mr. Knightley *cough cough* had something to do with her self revelation. The whole story is about character development. How much we can learn through are mistakes and how important it is that we listen to those who can SEE our flaws and INFORMS us of them.
Mr. George Knightley. This man... HE IS UNDERRATED. I know everyone simply flips for Mr. Darcy (you know, the guy who broods in a dark corner thinking about Miss Elizabeth Bennet's fine eyes) and don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that lake scene just as much as every other woman who saw the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice. He's a great guy and all, but my Mr. Knightley is so... down to earth and a KIND person (underneath all the sarcasm, which I thought was hilarious) He looks out for Emma constantly and it's because he CARES that he lectures her at the disastrous Box-Hill Picnic Party. He does something that most people in this world are scared to do because this man truly cares about Emma Woodhouse. I mean really, I could go on for hours about this guy. Someday, I want to find a Mr. Knightley.
This book just gets into human nature and from a Biblical perspective that's practically non existent nowadays. Jane Austen doesn't bang you on the head with a Bible, but she certainly holds her characters to a biblical standard. I think that's one of the reasons her books have lasted so long. It's not just romance. It's human flaws and how the characters overcame them. Austen always has at least one of her characters have a "self revelation" scene where they repent. I love it.
Emma is a book that everyone should read (and watch the 2009 mini series. It's amazing.) because it's phenomenal. It not only teaches you, but it makes you laugh and writhe in anguish as blunders and misread intentions take the stage. It's truly an amazing book.