Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Fiction, Classic
What you'll love: The ultimate love story.
What will bug you: Time to settle into the language.
I'll admit it. I feel a little self conscious reviewing a classic like Pride and Prejudice.
I can't remember the first time I read this novel. I was living with Dennis, for sure - but we weren't married yet. It was before July, 2005 because that is the earliest entry in my book journal and it's not written in there. What? Oh. Yes - I have a little book journal (my brother is rolling his eyes at my dorkish behavior). I just write down the titles and time the book is finished. It makes me feel like I've officially finished reading the book. Obsessive? Have I revealed too much? :)
Anyway, the point of that previous paragraph is this; as I have gotten older, I am able to appreciate this novel much more. After reading multiple Jane Austen novels I find it easier and easier to let myself slip into the language, which can be daunting the first time you read her. I feel the same way about Tolkein - beautiful language, but it's an adjustment.
I just love this book. It is the ultimate love story. It's not racy, there is no physical intimacy, no one is having sex or going out for drinks. They are writing letters, stealing glances, professing love and asking for marriage. I'm not saying I want to go back to this. Now, I think that we enter marriage with a lot more knowledge of the person we are devoting ourselves to - and I like it that way.
What I'm saying is maybe there should be more letter writing. I think one of reasons this novel has stood the test of time is that it shows romance in its simplest form. When Mr. Darcy reveals his love to Elizabeth Bennet and she refuses him, what is more riveting? When Elizabeth reads Mr. Darcy's letter, how does your heart not melt? When they finally come together I want to shout "What are you waiting for?! KISS HIM!" but somehow I think that if she had, it would not have been the same.
I've heard it said that for many women, Mr. Darcy has ruined their love lives by creating this ultimate person who is impossible to measure up to. Personally, I would not go quite that far, but close. He's what my friend Gabby calls dreamy. He is confident and handsome. He loves fiercely and deeply. He cares for and loves his little sister. When you accuse him of his faults, he thinks on it, writes you a beautiful letter explaining himself, and works on himself to change.
In many reviews I have read of Pride and Prejudice there is a lot of focus on Mr. Darcy. Let's talk about Elizabeth Bennet. I adore her just as much as I adore Mr. Darcy (...but perhaps in a slightly different way). I think Austen was ahead of her time by creating a character who is headstrong and speaks her mind. She does not accept marriage proposals just for the sake of being married. (Especially the proposal by Mr. Collins - he's got some issues. Does anyone else find his obsessiveness over Lady Catherine strange and creepy?) She is a true heroine.
I cannot imagine myself in this time period. I'd like to visit it, but not stay permanently. I find myself smiling while reading about their dinner parties and card games - I suppose when you don't have youtube and Xbox these social gatherings get pretty drawn out.
A few thoughts on the other characters -
Jane is just plain sweet - I would love to have her as a sister.
Mrs. Bennet. Oh geez. Jess over at "Tangled Up in Blue" wrote a character connection this week about Mrs. Bennet. She's lady you love to hate. (Mrs. Bennet, not Jess!) The woman is tactless and frivolous. If she were alive today she would have long artificial fingernails, make expensive lunch plans with friends (to show off her new shoes or handbag), and obsess over reality TV.
Mr. Wickham is so slick. He's a handsome frat boy - everyone loves him, but not the kind of guy you want to have a relationship with.
Lydia makes me laugh. If she were alive today, she'd be partying during Spring Break and accidentally wind up on a "Girls Gone Wild" video. I find her character so comic - a perfect balance to the strong love story going on between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Mr. Bingley is just as sweet as Jane. I think he could stand to have a little more of a backbone and not let Mr. Darcy sweep him away with ridiculous concerns - but then we would have no story, would we?
Thank you to Misty at Book Rat for hosting "Jane in June" - thus giving me the push I needed to reread this classic!