Pride and Prejudice (thoughts)

pride and prejudice

I do not feel qualified in writing a review of such a beloved and well-known novel. Instead, I offer my thoughts upon reading such a novel.

First, I will admit that I was highly intimidated and nervous to read such a book.  I have checked out Austen books again and again, but I never could bring myself to open them. I continually returned them unread.  To be quite honest, I had a lot of fear. I feared that I wouldn’t get it. And if I didn’t get it, then that must mean I am not as smart as I like to think I am.  I also was afraid I wouldn’t like it. So many people love Jane Austen.  There are scads of companion novels and book variations and zombies and films devoted to her. Jane Austen is an icon. I feared that if I didn’t at least like this book, then something may just be wrong with me.

So you can see, there was quite a deal of self-induced pressure. It’s no wonder it’s taken me over fifteen years to finally open the cover rather than just stare at it. So what prompted this plunge beyond the cover? Well, Izzy’s unabashed adoration of Austen and Darcy piqued my curiosity. Molly’s consistent encouragement to hit the classics certainly helped. During some good discussion in the comments section of one of her posts, there was mention of at least reading one classic a year. Upon reading that statement, I thought, hey, I can do that. I also like to challenge myself, so Jane Austen it was.

However, I did not trust myself to just read it like that. I did have a history of good intentions but zero follow through, ya know. Thus, I enlisted my friend A. to read it with me. We take turns picking books to read together, then we schedule a skype chat to discuss.  It was my turn to pick the book so I chose Pride and Prejudice. Knowing someone was reading with me and that there would be a discussion at the end of it, provided the motivation I needed. Of course I waited until she finished it to start. But it gave me the necessary final push to get over my fears and read the book already!

It is an odd experience to read a book that is so well-known. The characters are not strangers to me. I know their names. I know who ends up together. But I know nothing of the story itself.  I have to admit for the first half of the book, I was utterly confused why everyone is so damn in love with Darcy. We all need more Darcy in our lives? Those are some strong words to live up to.  During the first half of the book, I wasn’t getting it. At all. He seemed like a complete jerk. So I read on waiting to see how he redeems himself and becomes this character that all the (Austen-loving) world adores.  I suppose I was like Elizabeth in that respect. I experienced Darcy in the manner she did. In short, I was flat-out duped.  I have to say once I realized I had been deceived, I became enamored with Darcy far more quickly than Elizabeth herself realized her own feelings.

I did find the story difficult to get into at first. I had to re-commence the book a few times. But once I got past the first few chapters, the book grew on me. I really enjoyed the writing style. The dialogue was so clever and intelligent. I really enjoyed the usage of words.  Instead of talking with people, crushing on someone, or having a bubbly personality, one has an interview (or conference)’ one is partial; or one has a sunny disposition.

It was a rocky start, but I get it. I understand why Jane Austen has inspired such devotion in her readers. I can’t say that I am head over heels or that P&P is my favorite all time book; however, I can say that I am no longer afraid of Austen. I have even acquired two more of her books. And, I daresay, that I may re-read Pride and Prejudice some time in the near future. And possibly watch the movie!

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23 Responses to Pride and Prejudice (thoughts)

  1. Kay says:

    I’m so glad you took the plunge into Jane-land. If you can get past the archaic language and get into the rhythm of the speech, looking for the truly witty way she shares each story, you’re set. I think that Emma Thompson did a really good job with her adaptation of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. She won an Oscar for it. It helps to see the facial expressions and body language and it doesn’t hurt to have actors that you might be familiar with (or that’s what I tell people). In any case, welcome to the people who have read “Jane”. LOL

    • jehara says:

      Thanks! I’ll have to keep my eye out for that one. I already have Emma in my netflix queue. I do have Sense and Sensibility on my Kindle for my next foray into “Jane-land.” 🙂

  2. mwk says:

    Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the movie, watch the BBC miniseries! I’m so glad you liked it! P&P isn’t my favorite book of all time and I am also not a fervant Darcy fan (although I like him fine) but I do love the book, and Ms. Austen. My suggestion for a next one would be Sense and Sensibility (but if you do a movie and book review and don’t like the movie I will cry, because I love the movie.)

    • jehara says:

      That’s two comments about S&S so I will definitely try that one next. And because both of you are raving about the movie, I think I shall read and watch and do a book/movie review. That should be fun. 🙂

  3. izzybella says:

    Hahaha, mwk!! Actually, I have to agree with you. Emma T’s Sense and Sensibility is one book v movie where it might actually be a draw. Also, what Kay said, but you and I have already discussed the superior BBC Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts upon watching it. I sense a possible activity during our all star girl’s weekend of Harry Potter fun!!!

  4. Congrats on reading Pride and Prejudice. I first read it when I was in my teens and fell in love with it. Then again, I love classics and read many more than one a year. I’m glad you got over the “if I don’t get it, I’m not smart” issue because I think a lot of people feel that way and it keeps them from broadening their reading range. I don’t think reading and enjoying classics has anything to do with intelligence, but rather a matter of taste. Classics are written differently than today’s novels and some people love it and some hate it. It’s really just preference. Either way, I’m glad you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice.

    • jehara says:

      I like your take on it, Julie. It is a matter of preference indeed. 🙂
      However, I’m glad I liked it because I may have wondered if something is wrong with me if I didn’t. 😉

  5. Margot says:

    I’m so glad you took the challenge and jumped into P & P. I’m also glad you liked it. I think your reaction is a very honest one. We often wonder about ourselves and our reaction to a widely admired book. I like Julie’s comment above – it’s not a matter of intelligence but of taste. I think you also read this out of curiosity. You wanted to know what’s the big deal; what makes this book so good that it would still be popular after all this time. Now you know.

    • jehara says:

      I like Julie’s take on it too. And yes, my curiosity was definitely piqued after reading Izzy’s love letter to Darcy. 🙂

      • izzybella says:

        But Margot and Julie are both right. There are a lot of people who don’t particularly care for that one and that’s cool. It is essentially a romance. I mean a cleaned up classic romance, but it’s definitely boy meets girl, loses girl, wins girl back again type of book. And lots of people just loathe that trope. I like the fact that we’re all different here. Makes it fun!!

  6. Heather says:

    Excellent review! I actually watched the movie first and loved it so then I decided to read the book! Austen is a bit difficult to get into but by the end you realize how it all fits together and love it! For me, anyway! Great idea for a review. Watch the movies!!!!!! 1995 and 2005 are awesome!

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    I totally felt myself nodding through your second praragraph. I finally read my first Austen a few years ago and was intimidated too. Actually, I first listened to one (Sense & Sensibility) thinking that hearing the English voices would help me when I actually read Austen the first time (Pride & Prejudice) and I think it did. I have the BBC miniseries on dvd and would be happy to loan it to you if you want. All you’d need to so is mail it back to me when you’re done (no due date. I’ve been known to return books a year later :)) Let me know if you want me to toss it in the mail.
    Also, I’ve only read three Austen, but Persuasion is my favorite. P&P is a very close second.

  8. So excited you liked the book! It is my all time fav! I read it every year. Sigh. I love Mr. Darcy. Another good companion, I usually read right after P and P is Mr. Darcy’s Diary. It is a re-telling of P and P from Darcys point of view. Written in the same “Language” and it follows the story line and time line perfectly. Being a huge fan of Jane Austen I have read a lot of companion novels, esp to P and P and this one is, by far, the best 🙂

    • jehara says:

      Now that I’ve read P&P, I am curious to check out some of the companion novels. Mr. Darcy’s diary sounds interesting. I’ll have to check that one out. Thanks for the rec. 🙂

  9. jennygirl says:

    Good job and congrats on finishing! Not everyone has to be enamoured with JA. I think when you read her books or others from around that time period, the writing and speaking style takes a while to warm up to. It’s foreign and not easily flowing, if that makes any sense. Once you stick with it, then it comes to you like every thing else.
    Wonderful review and thanks for sharing your experience with P&P 🙂

  10. Bumbles says:

    Good for you! I like learning about your approach (or lack of) to the book. We’ve discussed before how I am not drawn to Austen – I have preconceived notions about swooning and such. But I will dip my toe in her waters eventually. Thanks for the motivation.

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