My Book Review of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pride and Prejudice is one of my bucket list books, it seems to have been on my to-read list for years. I started the book several times but it never captivated my attention to finish it. I was determined to finish this book for my 19th century classic required for the 2013 Back to the Classics Reading Challenge, for the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge and as my book set in England for the Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge.
Pride and Prejudice is not one which will pique your interest from the start. Ms. Austen spends a lot of time in character development, detailing the marriage and economic status and family history of each of the prominent families in the book. With the number of characters, this character development stage was tough for me to get through and I was thankful for the glossary of characters to reference.
The story revolves around Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters in their mother’s quest to find suitable marriages. Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, a wealthy man who makes an unflattering remark about her to his friend. Darcy grows more irritating to Elizabeth after each encounter and she voices her contempt for him. Darcy, on the other hand, is more stand-offish and subtle in his feelings for Elizabeth.
I enjoyed reading about Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship and how it evolved. The quest to find out whether Elizabeth and Darcy would end up together is the driving force that helped me finish the book. I also enjoyed reading about Elizabeth’s relationship with her older sister and confidante, Jane. However, I really didn’t care much for Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth’s flighty younger sisters and many of the other minor characters or the sub-plots involving them.
While the book was set in England, I really didn’t get much of a sense of scenery, history or culture, unless obsession over social status is considered the “culture” of that time. From that perspective, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith was better in portraying the beauty of the English landscape and the lifestyle for the time.
“She was in no humour for conversation with anyone but himself; and to him she had hardly courage to speak.”
“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
This won’t be a book that I re-read and still prefer Ms. Austen’s Persuasion, which is one of my all-time favorites for its portrayal of issues that are still relevant to families today. Pride and Prejudice has helped to cultivate my interest in the classics and I look forward to reading some of Ms. Austen’s other works.