Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece
Review posted October 12, 2008.
Benbella Books, Dallas, Texas, 2005. 230 pages.
Ah, tremendous fun! This book talks about Pride and Prejudice, plays with Pride and Prejudice, and reveals that other people have their little foibles and weaknesses about Pride and Prejudice, just as I do. (And what an amazing number of people have a crush on Colin Firth!)
The authors who contributed cover a wide range, with Chick Lit writers particularly well-represented. Some of the essays are even written by men! (Well, two.)
I recently bought and viewed Becoming Jane, and my sister-in-law gave me the Collector's Edition of Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth) and I found myself quite taken in by the accompanying book of behind the scenes stories of making the movie. So I was definitely in the mood for this book.
Of course, I have my own stories about my love of Jane Austen. I did my Sophomore English Literature paper on her and ended up using the time to read every one of her books -- and then wrote the paper staying up all night the night before.
I confess that I regularly reread her books. I was recently captivated by a photo-illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice put out by Dorling Kindersley, which I found in the library and couldn't resist. I'm planning to watch Becoming Jane all over again, with commentary, which isn't something I normally do.
So -- I definitely enjoyed reading other people's musings on the subject of Jane Austen and her immortal characters. What is it about Mr. Darcy that enchants us? How about Elizabeth? And do we think that Charlotte Lucas was a sell-out, or just practical-minded?
There are a wide variety of offerings here, from discussions to confessions to playful rewritings to new stories. I liked the story Mercedes Lackey wrote about what might have happened if one of her own characters had gone to a party at Pemberley hosted by Elizabeth Darcy. Jennifer Coburn compared Pride and Prejudice with Fiddler on the Roof. Several discussed the implications of capturing the book on film. I enjoyed Laura Resnick's essay on Bollywood's wonderful musical Bride and Prejudice, and what things translated well and what things didn't. Of course, there were several discussions of Mr. Darcy. Teresa Medeiros' title said it well: "My Darling Mr. Darcy: Why is the Unattainable so Irresistible?" I also enjoyed Jill Winters' take on the passionate secret life Mary Bennett was living behind the scenes.
I don't need to say any more. Those who are as enchanted with all things Austen as I am will want to read it just as soon as they find out the book exists. Enjoy!
Thinner thighs and darker chocolate may not always be within our grasp, but thanks to Jane Austen, a brooding Englishman with an inscrutable gaze and good teeth will always remain just at our fingertips.
-- Teresa Medeiros