Rating: [rate 4.5]
In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III’s England, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet — a country squire of no great means and his scatterbrained wife — must marry off their five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are the headstrong second daughter Elizabeth and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy, two lovers in whom pride and prejudice must be overcome before love can bring the novel to its magnificent conclusion.
Altogether now: FINALLY! After two years of being on my to-be-read list, I have finally, finally read Pride and Prejudice, the so-called “mother of all chick-lit”. I bought my copy of the book in 2006, when after reading through a lot of instructions on how to write chick lit for my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, I keep on getting references to Pride and Prejudice. It suddenly became a requirement for me, because I want to write chick lit, and what better way to learn it than to read old ones too, right?Now, I’ve mentioned it a lot of times here — I am not a fan of classics. The only classics that I ever read more than once were A Little Princess and Anne of Green Gables. I found the language daunting and some of them unbearably long. *looks pointedly at copy of Vanity Fair on to-be-read pile* I told myself back in 2006 that I’d read 10 classic books in a year but I only got as far as To Kill a Mockingbird (which I loved). I tried to read Pride and Prejudice a couple of times after I bought it, but like The Time Traveler’s Wife, I keep on getting distracted by other books, or I would stop reading it for a couple of days and feel completely lost whenever I’d get back to it. After discussing Austen stuff with some Wrimos and getting a suggestion to read it when I would be least interrupted, I set out to read it during the Holy Week. But The Time Traveler’s Wife took up my time during vacation so I couldn’t afford having uninterrupted time to read this. I can’t possibly wait until next Holy Week again, right? So I made a resolve to read at least a couple of pages everyday just so I wouldn’t get lost.
In a time where the modern technologies we know of such as computers, iPods and flash drives don’t exist just yet, is the world of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters. Pride and Prejudice is basically about Mrs. Bennet trying to get her daughters married — because really, what is there better to do? Okay, I’m being harsh on Mrs. Bennet, sorry. :P But the story is really about getting the Bennets married, first with Jane, the eldest, especially when the friendly Mr. Bingley arrived. However, there was another gentleman with Bingley, the brooding Mr. Darcy, who manages to insult Elizabeth Bennet too early in the story by saying that she is not handsome enough to tempt him.
It all starts from there — Elizabeth dislikes Darcy, and then she gets to join him for a couple of days because Jane gets sick when she visited Caroline Bingley. Then Darcy seems to be having a change of heart, with the notice of Elizabeth’s “fine eyes”, but his pride was too high for him to actually admit that.
Then started the teasings (or teazings, as Austen wrote) from both sides. Elizabeth gets an interesting proposal which she declines, learns her best friend is marrying, crushes on an officer who turns out to be Darcy’s enemy, and then finds out that Bingley has left the country without a word to her sister. In an effort to move on (or somehow, catch Bingley again), Jane goes to London while Elizabeth visits her best friend who is married to the benefactor of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is the aunt of Darcy.
I’m going to stop there because revealing things after this would spoil the story, but that is exactly where things started getting better in the story. I admit I kind of trudged through the first part of the book because of the language, but when there was more Elizabeth-Darcy interaction, I was thrilled. There was something about the way they “sparred” with each other that made it very, very romantic.
As with the few other classic books I read, there’s a lot of things going on in the story that sometimes felt like they didn’t really need to be there but turns out it has somewhat of a role to play for the ending. Well, okay, Anne of Green Gables did have a lot of short anecdotes about Anne that made her endearing and didn’t necessarily have a connection with the ones at the end, but Pride and Prejudice has them, and Austen managed to tie them all very neatly in the end. :)
In fewer words…I loved it. Okay, I may not really LOVE it, but I really, really liked Pride and Prejudice and I wouldn’t mind re-reading this one because of all its quirkiness and class. :) I even watched the 2005 movie version which was also good, but I kind of wish the second proposal was more faithful to the book. Ergo, I must watch the 1995 BBC version, yes? :)
Ah, Mr. Darcy. â™¥