Book Review – Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen
Started: 23rd July 2014
Finished: 1st August 2014

I have seen the most recent film of Pride and Prejudice a few times but I have never attempted to pick up the novel. However I’ve finally got round to it as it features on my university reading list. The only Austen novel I read prior was Emma and I must admit, I didn’t really enjoy it. So I was a little nervous picking this up.

Pride and Prejudice focuses on the Bennet family, particularly Mrs Bennet wanting her five daughters to all find husbands. In fact it feels as though it’s her only goal in life. Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter, is the protagonist and is a smart and strong woman (which concerns her mother). After Mr Bingley moves nearby there’s suddenly more opportunities for Mrs Bennet to try and marry off her daughters. Along with Mr Bingley comes mysterious and brooding Mr Darcy – whom Elizabeth takes an instant disliking to. Throughout the novel there is miscommunication, manipulative characters and unexpected proposals.

Elizabeth is a great female protagonist, witty and independent with some great lines. However there are some times where I found her a little irritating and petty. Overall though, she was certainly my favourite of the five sisters. Lydia on the other hand, the youngest, is a whole different story. She is very frustrating and doesn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities, however as this is how the character is supposed to come across (at least I hope it is) it made her more tolerable. One of the biggest literary heartthrobs is Mr Darcy, and as the book progresses you can understand why. His true personality starts to come out more, and whilst he is still stubborn you can’t deny that he does have a certain charm about him. I also enjoyed his conversations (or battles) with Elizabeth as it brought a great deal of entertainment to the novel. Although, in my opinion, Mr Bennet is the best male character. The difference between him and his insufferable wife is amusing. He comes out with some brilliant lines, both funny ones and others full wonderful fatherly advice. His admiration towards Elizabeth was also beautiful to read.

The plot itself is fairly interesting, however quite drawn out. There are some unnecessary scenes which are longer than what they probably need to be. Making the 332 pages a lot longer than they are. I feel that this novel would have kept my interest more had I not known what was going to happen. As I knew the ending, there wasn’t an urgency or desire to keep reading to find out what happens. It was nice to finally read the book that has inspired so much, but for me it was nothing sensational. The dialogue is well conveyed and you do learn a lot through it, it feels as though you’re sitting around with them, listening in. Not only do you learn about who they are discussing, but you learn about the characters talking. It’s through dialogue that you quickly figure out which characters and situations you’re rooting for to succeed and also to fail.

I’m happy that I’ve finally read this classic, as it is a good book with some great characters. Austen also displays her ability to write several different types of male and female characters, which is nice to see. I definitely preferred Pride and Prejduice to Emma however, it didn’t always keep my interest and I found my attention wandering. It’s certainly something everyone should read, although for me there are better classics out there.

Rating: 3/5

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