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Aug 7, 2009

Book Review/Reaction: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Many editions have been issued
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The Burton Review Rating:FIVE STARS OF COURSE

"Few have failed to be charmed by the witty and independent spirit of Elizabeth Bennet. Her early determination to dislike Mr. Darcy is a prejudice only matched by the folly of his arrogant pride. Their first impressions give way to true feelings in a comedy profoundly concerned with happiness and how it might be achieved."

This book has been reviewed up and down the world millions of times over since it was first published in 1813. Doing a typical review on it now is a little tough to undertake, so this is going to be my reaction to the story which many of you already know. This was the first time I read ANY AUSTEN! Amazing, isn't it? I have been an avid reader since I was 6. I am not exaggerating. I was reading to the first grade class while they were knitting because I simply could not knit, but I could read. It was my comfort zone forever after, everyone else was out doing fun things while I was reading about fun things. So imagine my own surprise when I realize I had not read any Jane Austen books. The Jane Austen that all Regency genre books are compared to, such as Georgette Heyer being described as having the Austen flair. So after reading four Heyer's what was I waiting for? I loved the romances and mysteries that Georgette Heyer wrote, though I have had trouble with her historical ones (and am happy I am not the only one). Now we have this onslaught of Austen sequels in the world, and if I am to keep up with the Jones' I had better get with it and read Pride and Prejudice so I can then read the FOUR P&P sequels that are sitting on my shelf.

Jane Austen's writing is witty, charming, delightful, and fresh. Yes, fresh.. after 200 years? Can you imagine that? When you think of Austen's Pride & Prejudice, you are imagining Darcy and Lizzy. Oh, that Mr. Darcy who just makes woman swoon for him with his quiet demeanor, and sweet charm. SIGH. I really loved the way Jane's characters spoke to each other, the creative dialogue that made up 97% of the story. If you blinked and didn't digest a sentence you were almost lost. The author has such a way with words that she packs a lot of pertinent information into one very long sentence without it being a run-on. I was impressed. I love a book that has me grinning as I am reading it.

A little more added to my recent teaser post, a wonderful scene is played out:

"No- I cannot talk of books in a ballroom; my head is always full of something else."
"The present always occupies you in such scenes, - does it?" said he, with a look of doubt.
"Yes, always," she replied, without knowing what she said, for her thoughts had wandered far from the subject, as soon afterwards appeared by her suddenly exclaiming, "I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created."

"I am", said he with a firm voice.

Lizzy Bennet who was the apple of Mr. Darcy's eye didn't even know that she was until halfway into the book. It was a joy to watch Lizzy's sisters' shenanigans, their quaint lives dependent upon the five sisters each managing to get themselves married off suitably. The character of the disagreeable pompous cousin Mr. Collins was a treat to watch in a weird sort of way, and made me thankful we are not destined to those old ways of sometimes being forced to marry your own cousin! And that mom of Lizzy's was a train wreck. So very thankful for my own mom after reading about Lizzy's. My absolutely most favorite part was when the rich and widowed Catherine De Bourgh tells Lizzy that she simply would not allow her to marry her nephew Darcy, and Lizzy has a tete-a-tete with her and never backs down. I was cheering her on and so glad she didn't stoop to Catherine's level. This is a classic for a reason, and I loved the book, although there was a short time in the middle I was getting a little tired of the chatter and the lack of events. It picked itself up soon after when incorrigible sister Lydia ran away with the scoundrel, and Mr. Darcy of course saves the day. What a man! I am looking forward to the Austen Sequels and to see how different the interpretation are for each of these stories that will depict Lizzy and Darcy's life after they marry. And I have to admit, throughout the book I knew Lizzy and Darcy were destined to be married, but it sure did seem impossible that it was ever going to happen!

I enjoy visiting occasionally Jane Austen Today who have been on my blogroll for awhile. You need to check them out, there is always something interesting and Austen-Awesome going on there. And for The Everything Austen Challenge, this is my first book towards that 6 item goal.
What is your favorite Pride and Prejudice scene?