Well, I finished Pride and Prejudice yesterday.
I did enjoy it much more than Sense and Sensibility, which I attribute significantly to the BBC-sponsored mental images of all the characters in my head, but also to, honestly, just a stronger preference for the plot. Elizabeth Bennet is just one of my favorite literary characters, along with Emma Woodhouse, Clare Abshire, and Buttercup (because, yes, I read the novel long before I saw the movie). I owe Jane Austen a lot for creating this woman.
And this reading was more enjoyable than the first as I have become even more familiar with Austen’s cadence and can read her dialogue more as it was intended. I was able to inject the tones of witty banter and light flirtation that escaped me in my first reading. While reading the final chapters yesterday, on the train, I giggled and gushed over the tidy happy resolution to Elizabeth and Darcy’s nontraditional courtship. It was worth it.
Despite all that, all the enjoyment I had in the actual reading, the whole thing felt like a bit of a chore. I do not think I will undertake a project like this again – focusing on one author for a chunk of time like this. It feels a bit too academic, which I think would be fine if I had not severely underestimated how busy I am. There are also just too many other books I want to read! The literal, physical “to read” shelf of my bookcase is disturbingly full.
But should you read Pride and Prejudice? Where is the substance of a review, Cassie? Well, it’s missing and does not plan to return, I am sorry to say. It’s not a quick read but it’s not unbearably long. There are parts where the plot moves slowly but that’s tolerable if you already know the story. I do think everyone should read it at least once, but if you’re content to just experience the BBC miniseries, I will not judge you for it (and I may join you for it).
I’m moving on today to finish Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding and Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman – having all of these half-finished books is driving me crazy! I should get through those tonight, though, and start up Austen’s Persuasion with tomorrow morning’s commute.
Final word: I’m glad I stuck with it, I’m just glad to be done with it.