Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kobra Kid Reviews: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen owned a thesaurus.

I know I'm supposed to love this book, both as a woman and as someone who's had a lifelong love affair with classic works of literature, but honestly, I found it only just tolerable enough to keep reading to the end.

The language is extremely heavy, at times even daunting, due to Ms. Austen's apparent neurotic compulsion to use only four or five syllable words wherever possible. It's not that I'm afraid or unappreciative of big fancy words, but sometimes? Simple is better. Writing isn't about cramming as many big words as you can into your story; there is ease of reading too, a lyricism and flow to your narrative to keep in mind. That's why it's ART, damn it. Furthermore, I find it extremely hard to believe that people actually talked like that. The 18th century has never been a particular area of interest for me, so for all I know, they did. I'm just saying, the idea makes me a bit dubious, and also makes my head hurt to imagine.

Aside from that, Pride & Prejudice didn't even really get interesting until Kitty [ETA: It was Lydia. Oops. Whatever, they're basically the same character] ran off with what's-his-face. Wickham, I think. She should've stayed gone, if you ask me. I would kill my sister, if she acted like that. In fact, I'd kill her if she acted like any of the characters in this book. What a bunch of vain, self-obsessed, self-important ninnies, all preoccupied with wealth and prestige and the mindless indulgences of the rich and idle. Even Elizabeth isn't exempt, though we're apparently just supposed to love her to pieces, or something, and we're supposed to believe that Mr. Darcy does too, despite the fact that she spends the first two-thirds of the book doing everything in her power to mortally offend him and snub him and make him dislike her. She doesn't return his affections until around the last third of the book, yet we're led to believe, through Eliza's own convictions, that she and Mr. Darcy will be the paragon of marital bliss. Oh, please.

Despite these complaints, however, I think the book is actually rather interesting as a window into the social conventions of the time. There are probably better books for that, I admit, but if you want a little fiction (and maybe a supposed love story) to go with your history, and if you can hack Austen's blatant thesaurus abuse, it's worth a read.

Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]

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