Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.
My husband, Manuel, is back with another review:
Pride and Prejudice is written by Jane Austen. It is a story about a young girl who’s on the cusp of womanhood, but already possesses some qualities of the latter. While the characteristics of the former do rear their heads in many situations early on in the book. The main character, Elizabeth Bennett, is a rather intelligent, observant, judgemental, and all together good-natured young woman. While she was raised with four other sisters, she primarily was her father’s personal favorite daughter.
Mr. Bennett was the one whom, begrudgingly, acquainted his daughters to one Mr. Bingley and his dearest friend, Mr. Darcy. They couldn’t have been more polar opposites, as Mr. Bingley was very much social and whole-heartedly agreeable upon meeting him; meeting Mr. Darcy was an exercise in pulling teeth out. Prideful and most certainly contemptuous toward both his own high society and the protocols therein. So when Darcy first met Elizabeth, naturally it wasn’t love at first sight, so much as hate at first sigh.
As the story weaves through many other dramas in both, dealing with one’s past and the promises made for them by others, Elizabeth finds herself hanging onto dear life and soul and principle while she navigates the intricacies of her mind and heart. Luckily with Jane Austen, this is done to a masterful level of presenting characters within an organic and consistent setting, all the while continuing to supply an ample amount of banter and memorable repartes that at times had me shouting “WTF!”.
I really enjoyed a lot of the dialogue that appears here and there. Though most of it amounts to ‘filler’ for me. She writes with such repetitious emotional overtures, that I often found myself exhausted after having read a single paragraph. I do yield to the fact that I’m not too much of an emotional person, and I see them as illogical necessities. So a story that both presents them in action and dialogue, isn’t quite my cup of tea.
That said, when the dialogue hits the jackpot with me, it slathers on the pain or joy with wild abandon. The way she meticulously articulates emotions and rationalizations is something I’ve never seen done in my life. While Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is the more academic and rigid intellectual, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the rebel know-it-all in the class that puts her feet up and doesn’t even wind up in detention.
The way Elizabeth goes over with a fine tooth comb to almost everything in her life is very easily going to cause her to overthink many situations. While I myself do this in real life, I don’t wish to experience this in my fantasy world of make-believe. It can certainly lend itself to far more out of breath and completely wrong conclusions. And yet, in an effort to have a semblance of control, she gives it up to her analytical mind. Almost like feeding a voracious animal. Out of habit.
So I loved when they first met, as it really does go that way at parties for introverted people. And people who lack social skills. I also thoroughly enjoy their final walk toward the end of the book. The whole run-down that they do helps in so many ways. Especially when it comes to one’s lack of memory. Though to be honest much of this book is memorable. Even if some of the couples you read about are meaningless in my humble opinion.
In the end, this book certainly had its powerful female lead, it’s bouts of funny, and a great way to pass the time. I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone into time period pieces, or romance, or classics. Though it’s not my favorite book of all time, it is most certainly deserving of all it’s praise. I miss darling Elizabeth already.