Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Overhyped Books

As I mentioned last week, I've been in a reading mood lately. I purchased a pile of Catherynne M. Valente books, which I'm savoring like jeweled, glassine-wrapped sweets.

At the same time I'm barreling through Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And I'm enjoying it...sort of. It's like a palate cleanser, I suppose. Honestly I'm starting to regret my impulse to buy it, but since I got it from an independent bookstore in Concord, MA I feel I can justify the purchase in some way.

It's just...it's the original plot with some mention of zombies and weak humor and watered down language. I hate to be a language snob--wait, no I don't! I hate being a literary snob, which I am certainly not but I LOVE being a language snob. Anyway, I felt that the story lost a lot of its wit and sparkle by this watering down of things.

Also, I find myself arguing out loud in defense of Mrs. Bennet! In the original there was real tension in Elizabeth's refusals both to Mr. Collins and Mr. Darcy. Mrs. Bennet's obsession with matchmaking her daughters grew out of her concern that upon their father's death they would be destitute. Since the sisters' zombie-fighting counterparts, we are told, could support themselves as assassins or bodyguards, Mrs. Bennet comes off as mean and silly.

I keep waiting for the story to pick up, for it to veer away from the original and become something more exciting yet insightful to the characters. But this review from The Geek Beat makes me think otherwise, and I admit I'm disappointed.

This book is best suited to middle and high schoolers, unwilling to embrace the classics. True Austen fans should avoid it like the unfortunate scourge it depicts.

Perhaps I should end thus: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a book in possession of a good reputation must be in want of better writing.

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