Oscar Wilde's madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.
Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack's ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack's country home on the same weekend the "rivals" to fight for Ernest's undivided attention and the "Ernests" to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!
This Prestwick House Literary Touchstone Edition includes a glossary and reader's notes to help the modern reader appreciate Wilde's wry wit and elaborate plot twists.
My Review: 5 Stars
I chose this for a book challenge this year, as a book that I should've read in school, but didn't. I was surprised at how delightful and humorous the story was!
Both Jack and his friend, Algernon, have pretend friends (although Jack's is a cousin) that they each use to get them out of certain situations. Unfortunately, Cecily (Jack's ward) and Gwendolen (Jack's love interest), both fall in love with Ernest (Jack's "cousin"), as Algernon poses as this mythical Ernest, unbeknownst to Jack. This sounds so confusing, but I promise, it makes perfect sense in the book. All the mistaken identities and comical situations had me smiling throughout, wondering how it could possible resolve in a satisfying way. But it does work out and is such an enjoyable story.
The pacing and characters are spot on. It's amazing that it still has life, even though this story is over 100 years old! This is definitely one to add to a list for a reader who enjoys some clean, slightly romantic comedy.
Buy Link (I got mine for free):