This is another one of those books that I read whilst still at school but wasn’t on the curriculum. I must admit I was a bit “meh” about it and am surprised that it came so high up on the list. Now it may be because I must have been 14 when I read it and the language was HARD but I felt like the story dragged. It may also be that it is just so well known; I hadn’t ever seen a Pride and Prejudice adaptation but the plot has been recycling a million times since so I knew just where it was going.
That being said I did enjoy reading it. It just wasn’t a particularly memorable experience. I took from it what I might take from a holiday read bought at the airport. I am a little embarrassed to admit that especially seeing as I am from Hampshire and live ten miles from where Jane Austen lived. I am also a little surprised at myself because I have read other Austen works since and enjoyed them immensely. Perhaps I need to re-read Pride and Prejudice.
But anyway, my lasting impression from the book was how much I liked and admired Lizzie. In some ways I feel she is the first of the ‘not like other girls’ trope that is perpetuated a lot in fiction and film and I some what resent that idea because I’m sorry what’s wrong with other girls? However, what I like about Lizzie is that she is never really believes herself superior to her sisters, although we can tell she is often ashamed of them and her mother. She just does her own thing and in a society like Regency England that took courage. As I look back on the novel with a more critical eye I see Austen’s satire and criticism of that society. She asks ‘why are we promoting this foolishness?’ by having Lizzie scorn her man-crazed mother and younger sisters. I must admit if that was the cultural accept norm, I would want to be ‘not like other girls’ too.
Would recommend to: young women who feel insecure about being single.