Friday, February 15, 2013

ReviewMeTwice- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

This week, we read Pride and Prejudice, in honor of Valentine's day (I know; you're just so shocked.  It was such a surprise.)

This book... I have read this book more times than I could possibly count.  Probably about once a year: I hear the name mentioned, and I remember how much I love it, and so I make a concerted effort to pick it up and read it, despite its length.

The thing I probably love most about this book is the language.  Austen just writes... well, absolutely beautifully.  Lizzy, especially, has some quotes that just blow you out of the water.

*****The following passage may contain some spoilers.  And I have just recently found out, that there are still people out there who don't know what happens.*****

“From the very beginning— from the first moment, I may almost say— of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.” 

There is also a part of the book where Darcy's Aunt, Catherine De Bourgh, comes to essentially bully Elizabeth into not marrying her nephew.  She demands to know if Elizabeth is planning to marry Darcy and tells her to never do so.  Elizabeth, because she's awesome, answers with, "You can now have nothing farther to say [...] You have insulted me, in every possible method.  I must beg return to the house."

****Ok, Spoilers Over.*****

I love the characters; everyone is so fleshed out and I can see them clearly in my mind.  Collins, who is annoying and beady.  Charlotte who, while unattractive, is caring and loving and Lizzie adores her.  Lizzie and Jane's sisters, who are annoying and insipid.  Or worse, feel the need to show everyone that there's a lesson in everything.

I love that after all these years, the story is still around.  I mean, it's hopelessly romantic and entirely unrealistic, but it gives you hope and makes your heart warm.  I know how many flaws there are (for instance, Lizzie doesn't begin to love Darcy until she sees his big house.  It gives off the message that you can change a man.) but at the end of the day, I just don't really care.  I love that Lizzie and Darcy can't stand each other at first.  I love that they're so rude to each other.  I love that no one is really as they seem, except maybe Jane, because she really is that sweet.

I feel like I can't even properly review this book because the writing makes me fall in love with the book all over again, every time that I read it.  I will admit that you have to ENJOY this kind of period writing.  Her writing is flowery and heavy if you're not used to it.  And it is, for all intents and purposes, chick lit.  Wonderfully written and amazingly inspired, but chick lit at the end of the day.

Hopefully, Alex will give you a little less biased review, but mine will contain nothing but love.

My Bottom Line: 5 out of 5

I know Cassy super-loves this book, but I just... don't. (Which is sort of the point of the blog... sometimes this happens.) It took me forever to get through the book, not because the language is difficult or the writing is bad, but it just isn't my sort of story, so I didn't really care what happened next.

That said, it is enjoyable. I really like Elizabeth (because she often seems to be the only one with any sense). I like that she falls for a guy she originally detests (although, knowing the whole time that they'll wind up together because it's as common knowledge as Romeo and Juliet made it too... inevitable).

I love the writing. The wit in every line from certain characters is just fantastic. I can see why this is England's favorite book.

So, long story short, it isn't my cup of tea, but I don't like tea to begin with... so it's probably very good tea, but since I'm not a tea-drinker... well, you get it.


  1. This post made me laugh. Cassy, you are funny. As I have said before, I do not care for this book primarily because of the writing. I am not opposed to flowery dialogue in itself, but I feel like there is just way too much. I mean,take that first quote. I feel like she could have written "From the very beginning of my acquaintance with you, your manners, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, formed the groundwork on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever marry.” Just removing a few words makes it shorter, and I feel the point still comes across. I have been told that I should read Austen's other novels, as her writing supposedly improves. I am willing to give it a try. I do like the story though, which is why I like the movie versions a lot.

    Also, I need to point out something that has always bugged me about older period pieces. Where was it decided that "plain" meant unattractive? I always thought it meant average. With all the different words out there, I'm sure they could have come up with different words to describe someone who is actually unattractive (which in itself is all subjective). Maybe it's just a personal problem, because I actually really liked Charlotte, and I've never considered myself attractive, but I'm not hideous and therefore, I feel like I would be considered average, and therefore what I see as plain.

    Anyway, great review. Sorry for the weird rant. I'm very bored.

    1. But you took out some key words! My most favorite part of that speech is that she tells him he's "the last man in the world whom [she] could ever be prevailed upon to marry." I don't know; there's just something about the phrase "prevailed upon to marry" that makes it THAT much worse. I feel like she's really sticking it to him in that line and it's probably my favorite line in the entire book.

      I would read "Emma" if you were going to read something else by her. I would avoid "Mansfield Park" because, well, it's just not that good and it's, I think, the longest of all her novels.

      I think "plain" was just their insult of the day, probably because being plain meant you were less likely to get a husband, especially if you had no money. Charlotte at one point mentions being a burden to her family (which is hysterical to think about now, because she was only 27.)

      The thing is, during that time period, no one every said anything that could be percieved as rude (or, plainly, you might say.) So by calling someone plain, it was a polite way of calling them ugly because, of course, you couldn't call them outright ugly back then.

      Now, of course, plain has taken on a different connotation.