Saturday, June 12, 2010

#17 Pride and Prejudice

It took me longer than I expected it would but I finally finished Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice . Despite being interested in the story, I found it was hard to get into. The first 100 or so pages, I could only read a handful at a time before getting distracted. I have a lot going on in my life at the moment and it could just be that I have been distracted as a whole and not an actual reflection on the book itself. I started on Sunday night and by Thursday was only about 150 pages in, out of 500, which for me is unusually slow but I have been rather busy this week as well. 

Pride And PrejudiceI decided on Friday that I needed to get a move on and finish it so I found a quiet place and got to work. Once I resolved to put aside my distractions and just read, that is when the story really pulled me in. When I went to bed last night I had less than 70 pages to go. This morning I poured a cup of coffee, sent the kids off to play with friends and finished it off.

I love that Elizabeth reminded me of so many women I know. Strong, good-natured, smart and unwilling to be bullied. She's a girl who knows who she is and what she wants and refuses to change that to suit anyone else. I love that she's not perfect either. She forms quick opinions of people and is pretty stubborn about sticking to them until forced to re-evaluate such as with Darcy and Mr. Wickham.

Despite his being portrayed as proud and haughty throughout the book, especially the first part, I really liked Darcy from the beginning. I knew he liked Elizabeth pretty early on, and was just too stubborn or something to admit it, even to himself. Of course, Elizabeth's feelings were obvious right from the start as well. You don't allow a man to annoy you so much unless there is something boiling under the surface. If you don't care at some level, it's too easy to just ignore them and pay them no mind, but Elizabeth was almost consumed by how much she disliked him. I've seen the same thing going on with my friends time and time again, and even I suppose with myself. I've definitely ended up in relationships with people I totally despised at some point. There really is a thin line between love and hate as they say.

 Mrs. Bennet drove me absolutely insane. She was quite possibly one of the fakest characters I've reading a long time. I don't mean fake as in that Jane Austen wrote her badly, but that she as a person was fake as could be. I wanted to slap her. Particularly in the end, she spends all this energy hating and being fairly rude to Darcy until she finds out that her daughter is marrying him and will then be rich. Then she suddenly adores him and is so thrilled with the marriage. Are you kidding me? I hate people like that.

I couldn't figure out how Mr. Bennet ended up with her. He was so nice and loving and reminded me of my own dad. I love that in the end, he's only concerned with whether Elizabeth is happy with Darcy as a person,whether she is in love with him and not about her marrying a rich man. I loved him.

I did see the end coming from a long way off but it was still fun to watch it all play out. I'm sure I'm not the first person to make this connection but doesn't Mr. Darcy have a bit of a Chuck Bass thing going on? Particularly when Darcy secretly helps out with the whole Lydia situation, such a Chuck move. I really could envision the whole story as an episode of Gossip Girl. Yes, I am 28 and referencing Gossip Girl, so what?

So, now I have no idea what I'm going to read next. I am unemployed and my benefits have run out so I'm a bit low on book-buying funds at the moment, so it'll have to be an older book. I have about 30 public domain books that I downloaded for free and can read on my laptop so maybe I'll start checking those off my list. Who knows maybe I'll stick to Austen for now. I believe there are 3-4 more on the list.

Any suggestions?


Lyndsey said...

It's so great that you've not yet gotten into Austen because that means there is a massive treat in store!
Whatever you do, do not read Mansfield Park yet - that is the worst one. Either go for Sense and Sensibility or Emma. Either one just make you happy: beautifully observed and everything ends just as it should.

Anonymous said...

I always have to read Austen in the winter and when I have long stretches of time. It takes me a good 30 minutes to get into the language and really get going. I would suggest Emma also, if you want another Austen. Although, I like I said, I tend to shy away from Austen in the summer - it's just too heavy.

Jessica said...

LOL Mansfield Park is my favorite one. It is quite thick though so maybe leave that one and start with Emma.

Brenna said...

My two favorite Austens are Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion - I would look into one of those! (I didn't enjoy P&P nearly as much as these other two.)

I should also confess I haven't read Emma or Mansfield Park so my point of view is a little limited!

Reading Rachel said...

Thanks for the input! I decided to try out Emma now and possibly move on to Sense and Sensibility after that, unless I'm sick of Austen by that time.

So far I'm finding Emma to be a bit of a snot.

Whitney said...

Emma is a total snot. Actually, she may fit a gossip girl reference too. I'm so glad you've discovered Jane Austen you're in for a ride.

Tyrie said...

When you are able, you'll have to read Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to take the edge off of your experience with this book - it will make you laugh out loud!

Reading Rachel said...

Oh definitely. I've actually been wanting to read that for awhile but figured I should probably read the original first. Who can resist zombies!

Kristi said...

I'm stopping in from the Book Blogger Hop. So glad that you ended up enjoying Pride and Prejudice. I read it for the first time this year and it has become one of my all time favorites. I agree with your characterization of Mrs. Bennet completely!

I admire the challenge that you've set out to complete - I hope that I have an opportunity to read all of these books in my lifetime!

booknerdgirl said...

Though Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books I totally understand the difficulty getting into it. I promise it gets better with each read. Another Jane Austen book to think about is Northanger Abbey. Its one of her earlier ones and she mocks the classic romance genre of her time with skill.

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