16 July 2020

Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen book cover
This was my first time reading Jane Austen and if it wasn't for the buddy read organised and hosted by Theresa Smith, who knows when I would have made time to read Pride and Prejudice. What I discovered was a slow-burn 'enemies to lovers' literary romance novel. The prose was intellectually stimulating, full of satire and sarcasm and I enjoyed the clever put downs like this one.
"Sir William Lucas, and his daughter Maria, a good humoured girl, but as empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that could be worth hearing, and were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of the chaise." Page 154
These provided amusing moments however the novel is also slow going. I found it contained all of the expected observations on the class system, inheritance, love, marriage, lack of female agency and the power and control men have over their wives and families. What I wasn't expecting were the realisations about family and how we can find ourselves embarrassed and even ashamed by the ones we love the most.

The highlight of this classic for me was the witty and cutting dialogue between the characters throughout the novel; sometimes in the form of letters. It was easy to admire the vocabulary and turns of phrase and wish for the ability to converse just like that.

Reading Pride and Prejudice 200 years after its publication in 1813 is bound to highlight just how much has changed in the intervening years but how people are essentially the same. Now, when a woman is feeling low about an interaction with someone, she might plug in her earphones, put on her favourite Spotify playlist and go for a run or a drive so she can stew on the situation and ruminate some more. It's the same for Elizabeth Bennet, as we see in this example.
"Reflection must be reserved for solitary hours; whenever she was alone, she gave way to it as the greatest relief; and not a day went by without a solitary walk, in which she might indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections." Page 214
I purchased a lovely faux leather Penguin Classics edition of Pride and Prejudice for this buddy read and while I greatly enjoyed participating in the discussions and the knowledge gained from finally reading this classic, ultimately it felt like homework with scattered reading rewards throughout and a sense of accomplishment at the end.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:
★ ★

Would you like to comment?

  1. It is always interesting to hear the opinion of some one reading P&P for the first time. As it is a long time favourite a re-read for me it is impossible to remember my first thoughts when I read it for the first time. I am glad you got the same sense of timelessness from it, in so many ways it has not dated much.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts and I'm glad this is a favourite re-read for you. I do enjoy reading classics from time to time, even those we think we might already be familiar with like P&P or Frankenstein. Not sure what I'll choose next but there are still soooo many classics I haven't read yet.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!