Bookclub, Books, Reading

Pride & Prejudice: A Tea Hag Book Review

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Review one of my favourite novels? Sigh, if I must.

December’s meeting of the Tea hag book club might just be the best one of the entire year. There’s festive treats and open presents along with the usual revelling in each other’s company. Oh… and talk books. This is simply one I have loved and cherished since I was sixteen.

Arguably Jane Austen’s greatest work, I never would have read “Pride and Prejudice” without my Grandma. The title doesn’t sound riveting does it? Yet it it dear reader. It is. This novel has endured for over two hundred years, inspired more spin-offs, fan fiction and movies than I could list. Elizabeth Bennet is still beloved, a heroine many of us wish to emulate- plus who hasn’t swooned over Mr. Darcy?

The original opposites attract has never beens so wonderfully told since Jane Austen first penned this book. It stands up not only to the test of time, but also to multiple re-readings. Here’s what two of us made of Miss Austen’s masterpiece.

Trillian teacup Bookaneer review

Pride & Prejudice: Trillian’s Review

I have now read Pride and Prejudice several times. Why the unspecific digit? It’s a comfort read, often started, interrupted, restarted at a favourite passage, with skipping to the end for the emotional satiation I require at intervals. There is something deep and intimate about the relationships that grow in this novel that is perfectly blended with witty upbeat satire. It’s a commentary on social structure, women’s power (or lack of), family ties, love and of course, pride and prejudice.

I remember clearly subjecting my now husband, then suitor, to the 9 hour A&E movie. It was, in my mind, a litmus test to ascertain our compatibility. I never felt he needed to love it, but wanted for my future partner in life to show some understanding of it. He probably didn’t realize how much was riding on his reactions and insights during that marathon!

While several books draw me back repeatedly, what intrigues me about Pride and Prejudice is its status with women. The test my husband had to pass, the omnipresent book club selection, it’s almost a rite of passage into womanhood. Am I overstating? Not from my viewpoint. I rarely meet a woman who has not read it (or if not, knows the characters well from a movie version). Could any woman raise her right hand, left on a bible, and swear she’s NEVER swooned over Darcy? Who hasn’t wished to be more like Elizabeth Bennett?

For myself? Guilty.

For a book written over 200 years ago, it feels fresh, relevant, and important. I think Jane Austen created a wealth of characters that acted out a drama about being human. It is laugh out loud funny and thoughtful. It always gets me thinking. At times do I expect certain things out of my children like Lady Catherine De Bourgh? Do I keep myself so emotionally stoic that my desires are misinterpreted like Jane? Do I take myself and my little problems too seriously like Mrs Bennett? For myself, a book that makes me think while giving me a beautiful love story is the ultimate in literature.

Charlotte teacup Bookaneer review

Pride & Prejudice: Charlotte’s Review

Jane Austen fans are a passionate group of people.  They discuss the books, which movie version had the best Mr. Darcy and whether Emma is one of her best or worst books.

I had read Austen when I was in high school and did not get what all the hoopla was.  I felt at the time her books seemed old fashioned and about characters concerning themselves with whom to marry. Not keen on romance I thought I was not keen on Austen.  Luckily, I have gotten into a crowd of Austen fans so my opinion of her is changing.

Now that I have entered a mature time of life I am able to appreciate her books far more. Pride and Prejudice is far more than courtship and marriage. It is about the preconceptions and attitudes we carry around with us. It’s about how we can be our own downfall. Now what I love about Austen is she is not afraid to present us with characters that are flawed. Characters that hinder their own happiness. She creates characters that we can relate to and root for as they evolve to their best selves. She does all that with witty dialogue and rich atmosphere.

I have yet to jump into the passionate end of Austen fandom, but I do enjoy her writing and would recommend her books.

Bookaneer Tea Hags
Photos courtesy of Bumbershoot Photography.

Neither Proud nor Prejudiced

Admittedly, I had my own foibles to overcome before first reading this book. First, my own teenage pride (I only read stuff that was”cool”) had to be quieted. Secondly there was my feminist prejudice to work out. Told that it was about five girls trying to get married I swore to never read such awful tripe. Really, my youthful follies knew no bounds!

Luckily, my Grandma knew the best cure to overcoming my own foibles so I couldn’t wait to read the book: we watched the movie together. If you’re hesitant to tackle an unfamiliar classic, watching the movie (and if it is a true classic like Austen’s there will not only be one movie, but several) is the surest cure. Begin with the version with Colin Firth-it’s the one that really counts.

Fellow Janeites, unite! How did you discover this gem? What made you read it in the first place? If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?

If you have yet to discover this book, READ IT. Read it now! Grab a copy and get reading.

Enjoy my friend. Enjoy. Until next time, happy reading.

~K

 

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