SJay's Reviews: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I first watched the movie when at 16 in English Lit. class and fell in love. Then I watched the BBC series at 18 or so; I now disliked the movie, but love the series. Then I read the book at 21 or so; I still adore the series, but I'm now crazy about this book. Over the years, I've watched all of Austen's BBC series and fell in love with her. But Pride and Prejudice... I'm just mad about this book. And here's why...
I started reading Pride and Prejudice expecting a tough, feminist Lizzy and an awkward, rude Mr. Darcy. What I discovered was that they were this and so much more. Lizzy Bennet is her father's daughter; she is sarcastic, witty, smart, very self-righteous, independent, and emotionally mature. She doesn't need a man to validate her; Lizzy says she will probably never find a man to marry - it would be smart to marry a rich man, but she could never fall in love with a rich man, because he'd be stupid to marry her with no fortune. It's really very funny and very rational, if you think of it. Lizzy also never shows any exceptionally annoying qualities - except when she decides to hate Mr. Darcy because of one thing he said: he didn't like her. At first, that is. The movie portrays her as loud and aggressive, but she isn't.
As for Mr. Darcy... Oh, dear, he's a heart throb. Darcy is not shy, nor is he awkward. He just doesn't feel the need to talk endlessly for society's pleasure. He's proud, but not vain, as he so graciously points out. He's taken by Lizzy's outspoken and wise nature, and he constantly attempts to show her that, though she doesn't pick up on it, as his methods aren't so... familiar. He thinks by speaking to her - while not speaking to anyone else, ever - by asking her to dance - when he doesn't dance, ever - and by doing other stuff that he doesn't do, ever, she should realize she's special to him. He's quiet, yet takes no nonsense from people. And eventually, Lizzy discovers that with the people he's most comfortable, he's one of the sweetest and most even-tempered people.
Jane Austen's story is romantic and true to the era, yet very realistic, as well. This is one literary work that every person should be acquainted with. I find myself reaching for this book every year or so to reread. The ending is especially bittersweet. Everything turns out right to everyone that matters, but it's sad to let go of the book. You want to know what happens next. What does everyone do next? Austen gives us a taste of what happens, but it just doesn't seem enough.
In short - though this review is anything but short - you have to read this book. Point.