Author: Jane Austen
Publish Date: 28 January 1813
Audience: Teens and up
Oh my goodness. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ surprised me…a LOT. For the first 50 pages 0f this novel, I was thoroughly bored out of my mind. Every time I picked it up, it felt like a chore. And still, there was something telling me that I really, really shouldn’t give in just yet. That something was the novel’s reviews page on Goodreads; reader after reader had rated it with 5 stars and I was simply bemused at how this tedious tale was capturing anybody’s attention.
That was until the drama kicked in and everything suddenly clicked into place. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is not a wishy-washy romance, which I presumed concerned only the story of how Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy fall in love. Contrary to my belief, it boasts a complex yet engaging plot surrounding all five of the Bennet children and their journeys towards finding a suitable marriage partner.
Elizabeth Bennet as a female protagonist has to be one of my favourite literary characters. Her views and outspoken manner are much unlike anything I expected of the time period; she’s bold, she’s brash, and she’s not afraid of what anybody thinks (reflected in the way she delivers rejections towards marriage proposals!). This can only contribute favourably to Elizabeth’s already charming and good-natured disposition.
As for the rest of the characters, it is very clear throughout who you are expected to like and dislike. The best examples of this can be seen in both Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy; as the plot develops, your feelings evolve with it, meaning earnest adoration can swiftly adapt to a deep loathing, and vice-versa. In most cases, I prefer to form my own opinions and internal debates surrounding characters, but ‘Pride and Prejudice’ proved itself to be a satisfying exception.
In summary, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was both an incredibly stimulating and entertaining read. After a slow start, it marvellously evolved into a complex and engrossing plot which ultimately proved to be a worthwhile literary experience, leaving me with high expectations for when I delve into more of Austen’s novels in the near future.
Next read: ‘Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls’ by Lynn Weingarten