Pride and Prejudice

I have to admit to considerable prior prejudice concerning Jane Austen. But Pride and Prejudice came up as a monthly read in one of my online book groups last winter, and I thought I ought to give it a try. Not being familiar with the time period (my interests leaning a good 400 years earlier) I decided to read the “annotated” version. Here is my Goodreads review from January 2009:

The Annotated Pride & Prejudice The Annotated Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I guess you either love or hate Jane Austen. I’d avoided reading any Austen for years thinking it wouldn’t be my kind of thing. Well, I was right. I decided to give it a try, because so many of my friends ARE Jane Austen fans. It was okay. It was even witty. I even laughed at times. No, I didn’t find the language difficult. It just isn’t my thing. I get impatient with “love” stories, and even more impatient with the kind of class structure and “manners” portrayed. I found it largely boring. Okay, I’m a rebel. I was rooting for Lydia.

But WHAT don’t you like about it, people ask me. All dialog, little action. And I love description. Paint me a scene. Give me all the little details. Jane doesn’t do that. Readers of her time wouldn’t have needed it. I thought reading the “annotated” version would help supply some of those details. Instead, most of the annotations were repetitious and not really necessary. How many times do I need to be told that “town” means London? I got about two-thirds through the book, and decided that perhaps I would enjoy the audio version better. I did. I mean, if a book is all dialog anyway, it helps to have it spoken. Like listening in on a conversation. I might even listen to another Austen book some day.

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Like Elizabeth Bennet, I have had a change of heart. Jane Austen fans would no doubt be aghast at learning how that came about. If so, do not read the next post. You have been warned…..

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