Contact me at lucyvictoriabrown@gmail.com because I'm always up for a natter about anything. Well, mostly.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

It may come as something as a shock to find I've got to this ripe old age without reading Jane Austen's most famous novel. I'm also not proud of having watched the 1940 film adaptation before reading the book (review here)! However, in my defence, I wanted to read as many of Austen's works as possible before turning to Pride and Prejudice. Alas, I still find that I prefer Emma and Persuasion (reviews here and here). I'm sure that makes me a heathen in some eyes.

Pride and Prejudice tells the story of the Bennet sisters and their marriage prospects. Under the domineering influence of Mrs Bennet, the girls are pushed towards eligible bachelors, though the second-born Elizabeth is determined not to marry anyone just for the sake of marrying. She takes an instant dislike to the haughty Mr Darcy who disapproves of his friend Mr Bingley's affection for Jane Bennet. However, that dislike turns to something else.

So did I enjoy Pride and Prejudice? Yes. I particularly enjoyed the witty dialogue exchanges between various characters, including Mr and Mrs Bennet, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy plus Elizabeth and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. As with other Austen novels, class and respectability are key themes, but also what it means when they become preoccupations.

Again, as with my other forays into Austen, I found myself wishing she had used more dialogue tags. It was sometimes tricky to work out who was talking, particularly in conversations between the Bennet sisters.

8 comments:

Ginette B said...

Wow - you hadn't read P&P before - that's amazing :-) Seriously, for someone who has read the book for at least 15 times now (over a period of 25 years), that sounds almost outlandish (just kidding, of course!)... Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I can never decide whether I prefer P&P to Persuasion or the other way round - it depends on my mood, I suppose. Emma is good, but I'm afraid I don't like the heroine all that much. As for Austen-based movies, I'd recommend both mini-series of P&P (one from the 70s - David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie are in it - the other, more famous one is the 1996 series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), the Ciaran Hinds / Amanda Root version of Persuasion, and the 2006 version of Northanger Abbey with Felicity Jones and JJ Feild. All excellent in their own way.

CharmedLassie said...

I think it was the hype that put me off. I tend to fight against such things, perhaps the Colin Firth aspect hasn't helped! I've got an unwatched box-set upstairs of some Austen adaptations which I must get round to. I don't even know which versions are in there!

Victoria Addis said...

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books and my favourite Austen! I have yet to read Persuasion though (or Sense and Sensibility), not even sure I know the plot!

CharmedLassie said...

Read Persuasion and get back to me! I'll hold out and call it better than P&P until the day I die.

During an Austen discussion with a friend of mine I tried recounting the plot of Mansfield Park (read 8 years ago) off the top of my head and think I managed it reasonably enough. Apparently Austen stays with you!

Ginette B said...

I know what you mean about the hype putting you off. I'm like that with some stuff, too. However... When I got into Austen as a teen, the hype was miles away - you were a 'nerd' if you liked anything that resembled the classics (we're talking about the early 80s here!). Had to read 'Persuasion' for my CPE in 1990 (of course, I already knew it, so it was pain-free for me!), and even then, people were groaning about it. It's only since the mid 90s that Austen has made a big re-appearance. I figure if I hadn't been into her stuff before that, I might have been put off, too. - 'Persuasion' is a more mature novel than 'P&P'. I think this is what I particularly like about it.

Ginette B said...

Re: Sense & Sensibility - that has a few weaker points in the character development of some individuals. It's an early novel, though, so that might explain the logical holes here and there. Loved the movie version with Emma Thompson - though she was a little too old for playing Elinor, she did a great job. Also loved Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon. Excellent acting. And Hugh Laurie is in it as a supporting character - very funny!

CharmedLassie said...

You're talking me round to watching the adaptations, if that's the intention!

Ginette B said...

*lol* Give them a shot - and let me know how you like them after all. I'm usually somewhat wary when it comes to adaptations of favourite books - I'm so nitpicky about a lot of things, so that doesn't make it easy to actually *like* adaptations. But I think ever since I realised that movie adaptations are only 'interpretations' or some kind of 'fan fiction version' of something, it's become easier :-) Still, I can go into a good old rant sometimes if an aspect I consider important is completely neglected (or the other way round)... Have a good weekend, whatever you'll be doing!