Title: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Source: Purchased (Paperback)
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twntieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
(This review was originally posted on my blog Winter Distractions on March 6, 2013)
Oh, Jane Austen! I really hate to admit it, but throughout the hundreds of years I’ve been around (I may exaggerate a bit), I have never read anything by Jane Austen. That’s not to say that I never have the best intentions to do so — I just never get around to it. BUT my book blogging friend Anne got me completely addicted to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which is a modern adaptation of the classic, so I felt it was due time that I finally read the original.
Well, first off, the whole idea of this story is just so strange to read in modern times, with the idea that the best thing for a girl is to marry — and that all a woman would want to do is marry. I guess that’s just what happened in those times, but a girl of sixteen or slightly older just seemed way too young to me. But, that’s just my twenty-first-century brain talking. Elizabeth’s mother can be QUITE the character in that all she wants is for her daughters to marry and it seems to cloud her brain from thinking about anything else.
“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.”
I loved getting to know Elizabeth, as well as her sisters. They were all such different characters, but Elizabeth really stood out to me. I loved how she stayed true to her character and would turn down an opportunity for marriage if she felt that it wasn’t right. It’s a little odd that one of the characters was her cousin — who wanted to marry her — but, again, I needed to ensure my brain stayed in the mindset of the nineteenth-century.
One of the wonderful things about this story is that it’s not like the “love” stories of this century. It’s one of those books that really gives you time to get to know the characters and fall in love with them. It’s not two characters meeting one time and immediately falling in love. Instead, it’s a long, slow ride until the satisfying end. And really, Darcy is not painted in a pretty picture in the beginning, so it would be easy to hate him, but I really didn’t. I could see how Elizabeth could have negative feelings towards him, but I did really love seeing them both overcome themselves to ultimately get to know one another more. It really is a case of not judging someone by first appearances. While Darcy comes off as too proud for the Bennet’s, he’s just a man who’s quite in love.
And really, it’s nice to have a character like Darcy who’s just so … Darcy that we see he needs a characte like Elizabeth who can really put him in his place. She’s a welcome challenge for him.
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
The only complaint I have about this story is that there tended to be some very LONG soliloquey’s or letters throughout the story, that I sometimes had to go back and make sure I knew who was talking and about whom they were talking. I had been alternating between the audiobook and the physical book, so it was nice to be able to follow along once in while during listening, and maybe go back just to confirm who was talking. BUT the great thing is that the narrator, Flo Gibson, did a really great job with her pacing that it was easy to follow along and go back as I pleased.
I have to admit that I now have the biggest crush on Mr. Darcy — and I’m sure it’ll only get worse since I now want to get my hands on adaptations, movies, etc. I can’t get enough! This is a perfect read for the romance lover!