It is a truth universally acknowledged that I adore this book.
I first read Pride & Prejudice as a pretentious seventeen year old overachiever with a list of “100 books you should read before college”. Maybe it was 500. I’ve since lost the list, which is kind of a bummer. My tenth grade English teacher had given it to me. I just remember that the paper was blue.
Funny how the brain works. But it’s the reason I picked up The Joy Luck Club, Like Water for Chocolate, and Gone With the Wind as some “light” summer reading throughout high school.
I digress… so it was with this list in mind that I marched into Barnes and Noble one day and went straight to the bargain classics display. I thought the whole “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” thing was an amazing deal… little did I know that it’s pretty much always how they sell classics.
Still, I bought paperbacks of Gulliver’s Travels, Sense & Sensibility, and Pride & Prejudice, all for under $10. I was so proud of myself, making these fancy adult book purchases. It totally cancelled out my purchase of the 8th Princess Diaries book.
I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but my love for all things Jane Austen was born. (I still had that paperback of P&P until I tore it up for a library program. I made the candle holders in the picture above. So technically I still have the book, just in a different form.)
I’m not sure how much I really got out of it the first time, but I’ve read Pride & Prejudice so many times I’ve lost count. This is the most popular Austen novel for a reason. There’s something about this story that captivates and doesn’t let go.
It’s the original hate-to-love romance. I’ve read books that further the story and books that interpret it in a new way. I’ve watched the BBC miniseries, the 2005 Keira Knightley movie, and the Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series.
What? You’ve never heard of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? Let me fix that for you.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
(It’s only 6 hours long, and it’s way more interesting than Gilmore Girls: AYITL.)
I’ll read just about any continuation or adaptation of this story, whether it’s mystery or romance or fantasy. I just can’t get enough.
Heck, I’m writing a retelling of it.
It’s definitely the characters that grab me, (because honestly, the plot isn’t anything ground-breaking.) They’re all so vividly portrayed. Elizabeth and Darcy both have amazing character arcs – especially for a novel written in the 19th century. Watching Elizabeth struggle from hatred to appreciation to love feels like experiencing the happiness of a close friend. Darcy goes from arrogance to understanding to hope, and by the end, he always makes me swoon.
The supporting cast is less nuanced, but still wonderful. Jane and Bingley make me smile. Mr. Collins and Mrs. Bennet make me cringe. Wickham makes me so angry that I want to throw the book across the room. (Not that I would actually do that. This is an Austen novel!)
This is a book I will forever reread. Filled with satire and delight and wisdom, I will always feel comforted in returning to the story of Lizzy and Darcy.
Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.
Are you an Austen fan? Let us know in the comments!