If you remember my post about 2017 blogging goals, one of them was to expand my blog’s scope to include other interests I have. So here is my first attempt at a book review!
Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Genre(s): Romance, Satire, Drama
My Rating: 8.5/10
Pride and Prejudice chronicles the development of Elizabeth Bennet who comes from a family with five unmarried daughters. However, because the family estate, Longbourn, is entailed and will be inherited by a male relative rather than the girls when Elizabeth’s father passes away, her mother eagerly attempts to get her daughters married off to wealthy men. When an eligible bachelor named Charles Bingley moves into the neighborhood, he attracts the attention of the women of Hertfordshire. With the arrival of Mr. Bingley comes that of his friend, Mr. Darcy, who immediately clashes with Elizabeth. Their conflict leads to epiphanies and eventually, love.
I actually have read Pride and Prejudice two times: earlier, during this past summer for fun, and more recently, for English class. I will admit that the first time I read through it, I definitely did not catch all of the satiric nuances of the book. The second time through, I was much more observant of them, thanks to some tips from my English teacher. But now, on to the actual reviewing part of this post.
From its famous first sentence, Austen clearly establishes that this story is a vehicle for criticizing the courtship process of English society (another facet of life criticized is social class / class divisions), and although this work is famous (especially for its film adaptations), many people don’t realize that it isn’t simply another romance book but a satire. So, when reading, my main suggestion would be to look out for the author’s wit when she pokes fun at the sheer drama involved in marriage during this time period. Although, I enjoyed seeing the characters interact and fall in love and experience conflicts, my favorite part was reading the witty dialogue and, of course, the narrator’s snarky commentary. Another highlight was how clearly the natures of the characters were shown through their dialogue. The reader never really gets a physical description of any of the characters, but their personalities shine through what they say and how they say it.
For me, the biggest fault of Pride and Prejudice was that many of the minor characters of the book were one-dimensional. Characters, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh or Mr. Bennet, are defined by maybe one or two personality traits, whether it be excessively controlling or sarcastic or so on. In fact, I would say that the only characters that felt “real” were Darcy and Elizabeth. Both undergo mental journeys and evolve into better people, while the others essentially stay the same. Yet, Austen could have intentionally designed the characters this way to emphasize how the two protagonists managed to overcome their pride and prejudice.
Ultimately, I found Pride and Prejudice to be an insightful and entertaining look into the courtship process of Regency England; Jane Austen is able to balance drama with social commentary well. I enjoyed reading this book very much and would definitely recommend it!
Thanks for reading this review! If you have any suggestions or feedback regarding how I could improve, please let me know. I want to write more reviews in the future, so I would like to get some ideas about how they can be made even better.