Review: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

SYNOPSIS: “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.  – via Goodreads

Okay, so I finally got off my lazy butt and got to this. I think it was in large part inspired by Natasha and her incessant hounding of me to join her in her latest addiction, and also after watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies once again and falling even more in love with Sam Riley as Mr Darcy, I had to get to the original. Usually I feel that classics can be a bit heavy to read, because of the old writing style, which I think is a big reason I kept putting this one off. However, this does not read like I expected it to. In fact, it was quite a quick read to go through, and did not come across as stiff at all.

I can totally see why this book is a classic. Even after all these years, there are still so many themes in here that are still relevant, which is quite crazy. It’s also still really good social commentary. It tells a phenomenal story of a proud man and a prejudiced woman, and their love story, while one we have seen told over and over again (oh look, hot person, oh look, what a dweeb, oh look how much they have changed, oh we must be together), it is told with class and dignity, and you get so involved. From the off, while Mr Darcy is proud and cold, you cannot miss how stupid Elizabeth is to latch so hurriedly onto Mr Wickham’s claims. Like really, your pride and vanity may have been wounded, but now you are just being silly.

A lot of the characters were not overly fleshed out, but that is okay. The ones you need to have depth to have depth, and it is amazing to watch the character transformations, chiefly between Darcy and Elizabeth, of course, Also, Mr Bennet is the king of sass. I swear, unladylike as it was, I snorted a few times when he got some page time. The man is so snarky. The book is also highly entertaining, and features some fantastic wit and is quite sharp. The drama kicks, too, so it balances the two rather well. I think that Pride and Prejudice is also written well, as it feels so much more modern than one would expect. The pacing is, for the most part, just fine, but there is a whole section in the middle that just drags and does not feel like it truly contributes to the story, and could definitely have been tightened up some.

There are a few characters I could not stand. I am only going address the two biggest transgressors here, being Lydia and Mrs Bennet. Truly, two frustrating beings. Lydia is so far and beyond selfish it is actually shocking. Then there is Mrs Bennet who is a gold digger for her children and seriously one of the most embarrassing characters ever. Ugh. My eye actually twitched whenever she opened her psycho mouth and I cringed. And not in the awkward kind of Kick-Ass cringe, either, just flat out “dig me a hole” kind. Oh, let me list Mr Collins here, too, because what a totally pompous ass. He is a cruel, mean spirited, condescending, insipid suck up whom I could not stand.

Pride and Prejudice is quite a quick read, which surprised me, and has a solid story to tell in a timeless way. Elizabeth Bennet, while a bit silly in the way that she handled the entire Darcy situation, is a strong woman who knows her worth, and does not want to just be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, just married for title, money, or societal expectations, and I definitely appreciate that. If you have not yet read this book (I was so guilty of this), I highly recommend that you do read it, and as soon as possible. It is fun, it is sweet, it is frustrating, well written and it is well worth its place among the classics.