on Tue Aug 23, 2011:
Reviewed by Rozemah Ali, MyVoice, Gateshead Central Library
Nowadays, a classic love story is considered to involve a 105 year old vampire and his teenage human soul mate or a mediator falling in love with a nineteenth century ghost. In comparison, surely a novel about morality and education won’t contain drama, right? Jane Austen’s timeless classic contains more than its fair share of excitement; six unexpected marriage proposals (two of which are rejected), five squabbling sisters, four potential husbands, three villainous characters, two sisters united in seemingly unrequited love and one scandalous elopement, to be precise.
Elizabeth Bennett is the second eldest of the Bennett sisters, aware that the fact herself and her older sister remain unmarried while her younger sisters are now eligible for marriage poses an issue. Although this issue isn’t relevant in the 21st century, Lizzy’s humorous approach to the matter means the reader immediately warms to her and characters they can identify with, whether it be her laidback father or her easily excitable mother prone to ‘anxiety fits’. The novel opens with Mrs Bennett nagging her husband to visit a potential suitor for their eldest daughter, opening the floor throughout the entire book to many sarcastic jibes and remarks from Mr Bennett to his wearisome wife: ‘You have no compassion on my poor nerves. ‘You mistake me dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least.’
No book would be complete without a partner for our heroine, with an intriguing twist; despite the fact Lizzy is described to be ‘tolerable’ compared to her beautiful sister Jane, Lizzy is spoilt for choice when it comes to a man in her life. Clergyman Collins is eager for her hand in marriage, the mysterious Mr Darcy seems unable to keep his eyes off her and Mr Wickham form the trio of men that bring their own set of problems into Lizzy’s life. ‘First impressions aren’t always the best’ – could Lizzy be mistaken in her verdict of who’s the right man? Is pride clouding her judgement? And most importantly, will love prevail prejudice?
It’s no surprise there are various television and film adaptations of this book; opt for the book and enjoy the uncut version of a truly brilliant unravelling of revelations at the turn of every page.