Ohhhhhh, Pride and Prejudice. This is a book that many of my trusted friends have been obsessed with for many many years, and which I have avoided like the plague because all I ever hear about it is how sexy Colin Firth is. Which, I mean, he totally is, that’s not in question, but I wasn’t too keen on a book whose primary lure is the attractiveness of an actor. I knew there was more to it, but I just wasn’t that interested.
But then I found it for cheaps at Mac’s Backs, and I told myself I was going to sit down and finally read it. And I did. Last January. Side note: I started trying to read this last January. I got married four months before that. I have been attempting to finish this book for most of my marriage. That’s intense.
And so I read through about half the book over the course of six months, then decided I couldn’t remember most of it and started over, and then I read more than half the book in a month but got utterly sick of it right around the point when Darcy gives Elizabeth the letter, and so I moved on to more delightful pursuits. Then this February I downloaded the Kindle app for my phone and tried P&P as an e-book, but I couldn’t be arsed to load it up to read. So THEN I found it for the OverDrive app for my phone as an audiobook, and I forced myself to listen to it last week.
It turns out that Pride and Prejudice is quite good.
I had the same troubles with the audiobook that I did with the print version, namely that if Mrs. Bennett and Mr. Collins wanted to run off and be batshit crazy together I don’t think anyone could complain, and maybe we could send Lady de Bourgh over to judge them. I absolutely hated these characters, but of course I imagine I’m not supposed to like them. I also, having gotten to Darcy’s letter, was not a fan of The Darcy, which is supposed to be the draw, right, and I could not imagine how Austen was going to make Darcy sympathetic in a couple hundred more pages.
And yet, she did. I am definitely more in the Jane and Bingley camp, but by the end of the book I was like, “That Darcy isn’t so terrible after all, is he? I do so hope that those two crazy kids work it out.” Darn you Jane Austen!
Aside from the ‘shipping, I was actually most interested in the culture of Longbourn and environs, as I have not read too deeply in or about this time period. I was intrigued by the particulars of politeness and society and how incredibly scandalous pretty much every little thing seemed to be. And with the characters, I loved how Austen was able to make me hate the sympathetic characters and like the antagonists (with the notable exception of Lady de Bourgh, who can go jump off a cliff if she pleases) in their turn.
Verdict: I need to read some more Austen. I think I might go after Emma and see if Mr. Knightley is as enchanting as Paul Rudd.
Recommendation: Yeeeeah, you should probably read this. I wouldn’t quite recommend the audiobook version I listened to, but there are probably better ones out there.