“‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Thus memorably begins Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice–Austen’s own ‘darling child’–tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.
Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale.” (Source : Goodreads)
I am really sorry about what I am going to say, but if you are a Pride and Prejudice fan, please don’t read any further. I swear I will write other reviews for you.
If you are still here, you guessed it: I didn’t really enjoy reading Pride and Prejudice. It doesn’t mean that I hated this book, but I just don’t understand why it is such a popular novel.
My main disappointment concerns the way women are depicted in this book. I am well aware that it was written at the beginning of the 19th century, at a time when women didn’t have many rights or opportunities to have an exciting life. However, I had heard so much about the clever and witty Elizabeth Bennet that I expected an emancipated woman ready to run the world. I admit that I might have enjoyed the novel a bit more, had I not these expectations. I found Lizzy fairly common, almost constantly thinking about men (her suitors or her sisters’) and spending her time at ball parties and friends’ mansions. Of course, she has qualities: she is not rushing to find a man, recognises her faults and is considerate and honest. But still, she is not the groundbreaking heroine I was waiting for.
Sadly, I didn’t find comfort in the other characters who were too stereotypical to my liking. With Jane as the young and reckless girl, Mrs Bennet as the impossible mother and Jane as the naive and sweet member of the family, I cannot say that I really liked the other female protagonists. Unfortunately, men are not better off, with a special mention to Darcy as the mysterious but yet attractive man. Contemporary romances haven’t invented anything new…
Not only do the characters lack nuances, but the plot in itself is also fairly boring. It is all about who will find a husband and manage to steal one another’s suitor. No doubt it was relevant 200 years ago, but 400 pages of these schemes were more than I could take. I might have been more interested in the story if Pride and Prejudice hadn’t been so popular: nowadays, almost every reader gets into the book knowing how it will end. Although I tend to think that the journey matters more than the destination, in this case, the journey was far too long for me – and not varied enough, all the scenes taking place in beautiful houses inhabited by rich people.
Of course, Pride and Prejudice is a classic, it is well written and the dialogues are witty. Moreover, I can understand why so many people would love it, it is a social satire and addresses many issues that were characteristic of Austen’s time (and can still be relevant today)… It was just not the right book for me.
I invite you to read this book and make up your own mind about it, but if you don’t feel like reading Pride and Prejudice, it might be very complicated to get into it.
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- Here is John Green’s analysis of Pride and Prejudice, if you want to know more about all of the positive and interesting aspects of the novel!
- The trailer of one of the most popular adaptations of the novel by Joe Wright with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
- If you feel like listening to the book, an audio version is available on YouTube.
About the book
Publisher: Penguin Classics (2003, original publication in 1813)
Picture – source : almabooks.com