Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Reason(s) for Reading:
  • This is one of my comfort reads – and since 2011 is my year of re-reads, I figured January would be a good month for P&P.
I  also recommend:
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Summary from GoodReads:

Pride And Prejudice, the story of Mrs. Bennet’s attempts to marry off her five daughters is one of the best-loved and most enduring classics in English literature. Excitement fizzes through the Bennet household at Longbourn in Hertfordshire when young, eligible Mr. Charles Bingley rents the fine house nearby. He may have sisters, but he also has male friends, and one of these — the haughty, and even wealthier, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy — irks the vivacious Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the Bennet girls. She annoys him. Which is how we know they must one day marry.

My Review:

I was recently “attacked” on a review I posted on a well-known site for criticizing a classic that I just didn’t enjoy.  In the attack, this person accused me of having never read another classic and, as such, the reason I didn’t enjoy said novel was because of lack of education in the classics.  (I worded it much more nicely than she did).

I read Pride and Prejudice before I was a teenager.  This book spawned my love of classics.  I went on to read everything provided to me by my book-loving Aunt and then I raided my father’s study bookshelves for Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas and even a little Milton.  I’ve been reading classics for over 20 years and I think at this point I know what stories I enjoy and which I don’t – and I can accept the fact that not all classics do it for all people.  Dickens, I’m looking at you.

But with Pride and Prejudice I get everything I love in a classic.  Romance, a dashing lead man (with just enough mystery and intrigue), a strong-willed leading woman in Elizabeth.  I get silly giggles over subtle interactions that bring out that “uncomfortable” feeling in the characters, I feel the rage of Elizabeth with Darcy’s first proposal and I also feel the softening of the heart beginning with that fateful letter.

I also grew up in a family filled with girls.  I am the eldest of 6 girls (all from the same two parents, yes) ((and three brothers too)).  Jane Austen does a fantastic job of capturing the different personalities that emerge with sisters.  There’s the responsible, stoic eldest, the strong-willed, the mundane, the follower and the flighty.  I focused quite a bit on the sisters relationship with this read-through and enjoyed catching even now a few things that had before escaped my attention.

Pride and Prejudice is a classic.  It’s a fantastic movie (both of them, but Colin Firth edges it out for Mr. Darcy for me!).  It’s a story that grew gracefully with me as I aged and a story I can look forward to enjoying for hopefully many years to come.  And one day, I plan to be that Aunt the provides this book to my own nieces and to experience through their eyes the first thrill that famous opening line brings.

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