Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


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Pride and Prejudice, which opens with one of the most famous sentences in English Literature, is an ironic novel of manners. In it the garrulous and empty-headed Mrs Bennet has only one aim – that of finding a good match for each of her five daughters. In this she is mocked by her cynical and indolent husband. With its wit, its social precision and, above all, its irresistible heroine, Pride and Prejudice has proved one of the most enduringly popular novels in the English language.

This is such a difficult book to review, so many years after publication. I’ve been reading Jane Austen books on audiobook and this one was no different – I read this one on audio too and I really enjoyed it. I’d never read this book before, and I’ve never seen any of the film or TV adaptations either (but I will be rectifying this soon, I promise!).

I loved the start of this book and I feel like this is one of Austen’s clearest books in some ways, which may be part of the reason it is probably her most famous. I felt wrapped in the story immediately and I really liked the characters. The way Mrs Bennet and her husband chattered was so humorous to read about and I liked the family quickly.

I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! 

As always, I loved the writing so much. Austen has a way with words that transcends space and time. The writing is so witty, funny and entertaining. Reading about the group of characters and their social dynamics was very interesting, and I love the family aspect of Austen’s work.

My biggest problem with this book is I did switch off a little in the middle. This is likely completely because of me and my own problem with not paying as much attention to the audiobook that day, but I definitely found the start and the end of the book much more enjoyable. I have to applaud Austen for her progressive attitudes to love and marriage, however I can’t help but yearn for an Austen book that ends in complete independence rather than marriage. I do like the romance aspect, but they do end up feeling a little predictable in the end.

When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.

Overall, this has been one of my favourite Austen’s so far, but Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are just about above it in my opinion.

4 out of 5 stars


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Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi


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Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

This was an absolutely wonderful, diverse retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t actually read Pride and Prejudice yet, although it’s on the cards for this year! So this is a little bit of a strange one to review as a retelling, and I am tempted to re-read it after I’ve read the original story.

I love the whole idea of this book, taking the themes of Austen (female strength and class in particular) and bringing them into a Black neighbourhood in Brooklyn. This book is written from the point of view of Zuri, who has 5 sisters and lives in a one bedroom apartment with her family. The neighbourhood she loves so much is changing, and this is especially highlighted when the Darcy’s move in opposite, a wealthy family new to the neighbourhood.

We’re not gonna throw away the past as if it meant nothing. See?

I loved how rich the culture was in this book. Zuri feels like such a genuine character who has so many layers to her, and I really liked her as a strong, kick-ass female main character. We need more female role models like her in YA who are definitely not scared to stand up for themselves!

Zuri’s growth throughout this book may have been my favourite part. I really enjoyed reading about her thoughts, feelings and pride for her neighbourhood and her family. The group of sisters were a joy to read about and I loved how strong they were as a family unit. There was an interesting – although not particularly memorable – cast of side characters, who did make me smile along the way.

I liked the romance and felt like it was really well written and genuine. I really enjoyed how the characters got to know each other over the course of a few dates and had some difficult situations which they overcame together. Some aspects didn’t feel quite as fleshed out as I wanted, but for a short contemporary they were enjoyable enough to read about!

That’s what happens to whole neighborhoods. We built something, it was messy, but we’re not gonna throw it away.

I loved how much Zuri talked about her culture, family and pride for the neighbourhood. She also stood completely on her own as a strong, independent women and the romance didn’t feel necessary to her life, which I really liked. Overall, this was a great, very diverse contemporary which I really enjoyed!

4 out of 5 stars


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