— April 24th, 2012 —

Book Review: “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
It is also a truth no less-universally acknowledged that this book is extremely famous, popular, admired, and acclaimed. Upon finishing the book, however, I am left with no palpable reason why. The book is entertaining enough; but not, to my mind, of such heights as to merit the degree of attention it has received far and above those which some of its contemporary novels have enjoyed. It certainly didn’t strike me as such (though perhaps the fact that I had to read it for schoolwork had something to do with it…). When I mentioned my opinion to a friend, she replied that its popularity is due to the wit and dramatic irony in the book. Perhaps this is the case.
The story chronicles the matrimonial endeavors and adventures of the Bennet family: Mrs. Bennet; Mr. Bennet; and their five daughters—Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia (oldest to youngest). Elizabeth, as we see through the twists and turns of the plot, develops rather quickly a stiff prejudice against one Mr. Darcy, who is so very proud and haughty and cold to everybody. In the end though, she realizes how her prejudice was unfounded, that Mr. Darcy has overcome his pride and really is a wonderful fellow after all; and they are married, and the story ends.
Mr. Darcy was not particularly memorable; not, at least, to me. I suspect from what a friend once told me that the Darcy-worship in culture today is a reaction to the screen presentations of that character—in other words, Colin Firth-worship—but I can’t say for certain one way or another. What I can say though, is that Darcy is a decent enough fellow once he overcomes his pride. (Honestly, though, I think there are other fictitious men who have stronger characters than Mr. Darcy: Colonel Brandon, for one, or perhaps Dickens’s Arthur Clennam.)
I think Pride and Prejudice is overrated. Like I said above, it’s an enjoyable enough story, but ultimately I thought it somewhat underwhelming (though interesting to be sure at times). Right now at least, while the book may indeed have its well-deserved merits, I don’t see them yet; and regardless, my children would at least need to have the necessary underlying grasp of emotional purity (and likewise the emotional maturity) for me to even consider letting them read it.
LANGUAGE: I think there are probably five or less examples of blasphemy sprinkled throughout.
AGE RANGE: The reader at least needs to have the maturity and discernment to have a good understanding of the principles of emotional purity. Whether or not the girl has this maturity or not is best known by her parents.

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