Cover art: 5/5 There are so many different versions of this book that it is hard to choose (when I say a lot…I mean a lot!) Even I have two different versions. I will just post one of the ones that I have, even though there are some much greater than this one.
Age Limit: If you can read…do it.
Author: Jane Austen
Perhaps you are familiar with a little lady I like to call “Elizabeth Bennet”? If not, you have come to the right place. For “it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Those famous words are the first you will see when you open up Pride and Prejudice. My hope is that after you read them, you will fall in love, as I have, with Jane Austen.
Set in 19th Century England, the Bennet family (residing at Longbourn estate, in Hertsfordshire, near London), consists of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and five daughters: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet. Mrs. Bennet and the three younger daughters are constantly embarrassing the family with their disregard of social norms. Mrs. Bennet never quiets down about marrying her daughters off to any man with a substantial amount of money.
There is no surprise when Mrs. Bennet becomes frantic when a wealthy gentleman, Mr. Bingley, and his sister move into Netherfield. She forces Mr. Bennet to go introduce himself immediately so that they have a better chance of marrying off one of their daughters. When the whole family is able to attend a ball in honor of Mr. Bingley, the eldest daughter, Jane Bennet, and Bingley fall in love. It is also at this ball that Elizabeth Bennet gets to meet Bingley’s dear friend, Mr. Darcy. And so the story begins.
Elizabeth and Darcy are at odds for most of the novel. Mostly because they are both so full of pride and prejudice (Go Figure). He offends her, she offends him, but throughout the story, they see each other’s true character and slowly start to fall in love. They keep meeting in unexpected places and surprise each other through their actions, both good and bad.
But before that can happen, there is a Mr. Collins (cousin to the Bennets who is to inherit Longbourn estate whenever Mr. Bennet dies) who comes for a visit in search of a wife. Mr. Collins, a clergyman who is very much enthralled with Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Darcy’s aunt and Collin’s Patroness), is devoid of personality and wants a wife in order to please Lady Catherine. Well you can imagine, with Jane in hopes of a proposal from Bingley, Collins is going for the next in line: Elizabeth. When he proposes to Elizabeth, he states the reasons on why he is doing it (in the book, it takes up five pages) and will not accept her refusal. Let me take a second to talk about Elizabeth’s personality:
She is sarcastic and incredibly witty. She always has something to say and she speaks whatever (and I do mean whatever) is on her mind. Elizabeth feels pride for her family, but she is also deeply embarrassed by their social behavior. She loves to read, but is not very practiced at playing the piano (or any other pastime that women in this period were supposed to perfect).
Later in the novel, a tragedy happens to the Bennets and everyone is frantic. But this incident only strengthens Elizabeth’s and Darcy’s relationship. As a reader, you grow with these two characters and fall in love with each of them. Please, please read Pride and Prejudice. It will change your life.
I really could write pages and pages on this novel (I feel as if I already have written too much), but I won’t tell you any more of it. I’m sure most people are at least familiar with the story (or at least have seen the movie). But if you aren’t familiar with the story, I’m going to do something rare and suggest that you see the movie before you read the book. If you aren’t familiar with 19th Century literature and find that you have a hard time reading it, it might be a little difficult. So to help you understand it a little better and follow along with it, it might be better to watch it first. This might be the only time I ever suggest this, so don’t get used to it! Like I said earlier, this is my favorite book and I have read it several times. Sometimes you have to read it again because you get to understand a lot of Austen’s wit and humor the second time around. I have read all of Austen’s novels and she is also my favorite author.
As always, here is the movie trailer (only this time, I am going to post both movie trailers because both of them are good in their own ways.)
The Kiera Knightley version:
And the five hour BBC (Colin Firth) version (side note..I couldn’t find the trailer, but this is my favorite scene in this movie [the swimming doesn’t happen in the book, but everything else does. It’s a good one!]):
Happy reading everyone!
“The Printed Word: Readable – Usable – Recyclable – Sustainable – Biodegradable”