“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Thus memorably begins Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s most popular novels. Pride and Prejudice—Austen’s own “darling child”—tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.
Humorous and profound, and filled with highly entertaining dialogue, this witty comedy of manners dips and turns through drawing-rooms and plots to reach an immensely satisfying finale. In the words of Eudora Welty, Pride and Prejudice is as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
Unpopular opinion time: I didn’t care much for Pride and Prejudice.
I guess this is one of those cases where it’s not the book, it’s me. This is one of those classics that most people rate quite highly. (On Goodreads, nearly 80% of people have rated it a 4 or 5, whereas only 6% have rated it a 1 or 2.)
The reason I picked this up in the first place was because I enjoyed Eligible so much. And upon first starting Pride and Prejudice, I was enjoying it. In the first volume, I was pleased to find many of the characters to be exactly as expected as I mentally compared one novel to the other.
Then I hit the second volume, where the story began to drag and didn’t really pick up again until the very end. I found myself picking up other books rather than this one. It took me over a month to read, in which time I read four other books. The last novel that took me this long was Under the Dome, which was over 1,000 pages verses about 400 pages for Pride and Prejudice. So I couldn’t help but wonder what my problem was.
I think what it boils down to is, as much as I enjoyed Austen’s well rounded characters and witty commentary on society, I tend to favor plot-driven stories. I prefer more action and less inner dialogue. So the middle section of this book, which contains so much description, mixed with next to no dialogue or any other action for the longest time, just completely fell flat for me.
Do I regret reading this? Absolutely not. Will I ever read it again? Absolutely not.