Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there
Stand Alone, first published in 1813
I own a free e-copy of this on my Nook
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners–one of the most popular novels of all time–that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.
Two days ago I was bound and determine to finish this book just to rip it to shreds, well slight change of plans… The title grew on me much like Mr. Darcy did on Elizabeth and while I am not going to be in a rush to pick up another one of Ms. Austen’s books again…if ever…I am not sorry for having read this one. I can see its appeal and why it is adored by so many.
That is not to say I did not have problems with the book, I did. This story is really not that different from modern-day contemporary romances. It is about the drama of a group of ladies and gentlemen learning to get over themselves and come together in marriage. While I understand much of this next point has to do with the time in which it was written, but the way the story was told is my biggest gripe. It was almost as if we are reading a bunch of correspondence telling us of what events have transpired. Boring. I want to read everything as it is happening and not to be told of it after the fact. Also the formality of all the relationships got on my nerves. If Ms. Austen had consistently used only their formal names and not mixed in their given ones as well I would have had a much easier time figuring out who was who. I do understand that has to do with when it was written as society was much more formal in that regards back then. To my modern ears it just felt odd and everyone seemed stuck up, even the Bennet family which by the sound of it was regarded as little more than 19th century white trash.
The first part of the story was the worst, it was nothing but dances, playing cards, dinners, called upon one another, and schemes to have one’s daughter married off the richest man in the neighborhood. Little changed through the entire book, the only thing that did changed is that they started to travel and did all these things in new locations… About halfway through the book, about the time some of the seriously scandalous drama started to unfold, my interest picked up. I was becoming vested in the affairs of these, for the most part, shallow stuck-up people. I had a pretty good idea how the book was going to end, having avoided all the movies based upon it over the years, the story was predictable. The only thing to keep me reading, besides perseverance, was to see what all Ms. Austen threw in their paths to thwart their happiness.
Like I said, the book did grow on me and I did become fairly fond of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. I respected her for her spunk and devotion to her sister. I admired Mr. Darcy for his integrity and ability to grow and overcome past prejudices of lower class society, that was taught to him more than being his own resolve. I appreciate that this book did something for its time, held a mirror up to society to show them how very petty and silly these rules they insist upon can be, actually how detrimental they can be to ones happiness. It wasn’t as much of a chore to read as I thought it might be in the beginning and I do see why some are so devoted to Austen’s writing. It is not my cup of tea, however, and having now read one I will move on and search for more entertaining less stuffy reads.