This book is featured on The Rory List
Synopsis (from Amazon)
The pride of high-ranking Mr Darcy and the prejudice of middle-class Elizabeth Bennet conduct an absorbing dance through the rigid social hierarchies of early-nineteenth-century England, with the passion of the two unlikely lovers growing as their union seems ever more improbable. One of the most cherished love stories in English literature, Jane Austen’s 1813 masterpiece has a lasting effect on everyone who reads it.
I have ‘known’ Pride and Prejudice for a long time both through the BBC series and the more recent Keira Knightly film, and that’s without mentioning all the modernisations (like Bridget Jones’ Diary), so I have been meaning to actually read it for a long time. Why have I never read it before? Well I don’t tend to have the best of experiences with classics, I gave up on my last one, Vanity Fair. The Hunchback of NotreDame got thrown across the room. I struggled through Rachel Ray, and regretted not giving u. I only liked Jane Eyre in retrospect and was never that into Wuthering Heights.
In fact pretty much the only classic I have enjoyed (that wasn’t written for children) was my first Austen, Northanger Abbey. Not long afterwards in the hope I had found a classic writer I actually enjoyed I started Emma, but on reading a little decided I wasn’t really in the right mood, so I left the classics until now.
So was Northanger Abbey just a flux? I was a bit worried it would be as it’s known as the ‘different’ Austen novel. Certainly it is very different from Pride and Prejudice but still I liked this at least as much. Just as with Northanger Abbey I found that I was laughing a lot more than I had expected. I loved Lizzy. She comes across so much smarter and wittier, and even more caring than she does in either filmed adaptation and while I had liked Lizzy in both (probably more in the BBC version) I got to know her in the same way the book allowed me to (certainly that is probably something that is generally easier to do on the page than on film, but that’s a discussion for another time I think.).
Generally I knew what to expect from the book, in some ways it made it easier to read because in areas when I felt the book was getting a little slow I knew it couldn’t be long until a bit I knew. In other ways though it made it harder to read, because I was eager for those bits. Luckily it has been a while since I had watched Pride and Prejudice so while I wasn’t exactly surprised by events it did occasionally take reading about them to remind me. The one thing I really expected though was for the novel to be told from Lizzy’s point of view and actually that wasn’t so. Certainly you saw much into Lizzy’s mind, and that’s part of the reason that she was such a well constructed character, but you also see a fair bit into Darcy’s mind and to a lesser extend the rest of the Bennett family. Really that was what made the novel for me. Yes, the story is great, but has inspired so many stories that it has become predictable. However the was the characters were written so you could almost be another member of the Bennett family was what made it special.