Thought I’d take some time this morning and write a little bit about how Austen August is going. So far I’ve read a grand total of… (drum roll please…) one Jane Austen book! Progress has definitely been a lot slower than I anticipated but I’m trying not to put too much stress or pressure on myself and just enjoy reading as and when I can. I thought that my summer would be less busy but what with family time, friends, driving lessons, work etc., it has ended up being more jam-packed than I anticipated.
As well as reading Jane Austen books, I have also taken the time to watch some adaptations of her works (see blog post here), which I have really enjoyed!
The first Jane Austen book I read was Pride and Prejudice. This was a re-read for me, as I read this novel back when I was a lot younger. Maybe 10 or 11. I really didn’t remember much of the story, being so young when I read it, so I was very happy to re-read it and re-acquaint myself with the plot.
Pride and Prejudice is arguably Jane Austen’s most famous work and, after re-reading it, I can see why. From the first and most well-known line in literary history (“it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”), I was obsessed with the wild and spirited Lizzie Bennet. I saw so much of myself in her; her sassy one-liners, her stubborn demeanour and her humour all make her instantly recognisable in the modern world.
I hope to avoid any spoilers in this review (just in case you haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice!). The story starts with the Bennet family in Longbourn. Mr and Mrs Bennet are comfortably well-off but they have 5 daughters. Very rarely in the Georgian period did females inherit the family property and fortune. Regarding the Bennet family, they have no male-heir and it is legally impossible for the daughers to inherit the estate. This means that the Bennet sisters will either have to marry or rely on a male relative. The story follows their mother, Mrs Bennet, desperately trying to marry off all her daughters. From start to finish, the book completely ridicules and makes fun out of the expectations at the time, the upper-classes (and how pompously they acted!) and the obsession towards a marriage that was not based on love.
I love that Pride and Prejudice is more than just a love-story between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy or Jane and Mr Bingley; it goes much deeper. I must admit that I did think the plot was a bit slow at points, but then the story also moved too quickly at others. For example, I found it odd that Mr Darcy completely re-invented himself and changed the way he was perceived within the space of a few pages.
Despite that, I gave the book 4.5 stars and really enjoyed it!
Have you read Pride and Prejudice? If so, what did you think?
Thanks for reading!