Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Bennet sisters are in danger of being poor and homeless should their father die and at least one of them not be married. When a new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, moves to the neighborhood and appears to be single, Mrs. Bennet is determined that one of her daughters will marry him. What ensues is an interesting courtship between Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet, the oldest of the sisters. During the course of this courtship, Jane's younger sister, the headstrong Elizabeth, encounters the brooding Mr. Darcy, a dear friend of Mr. Bingley. Their first impressions of each other are not amiable and lead to dislike on both sides. The dislike is enforced on Elizabeth's side by her new acquaintance, Mr. Wickham. She openly accepts Mr. Wickham's reports of Mr. Darcy and her prejudice grows. A surprising proposal by Mr. Darcy and its aftermath lead Elizabeth to rethink her prejudices. What she can not know is that Mr. Darcy's pride is also being reanalyzed by himself. Will the two ever be able to overcome their pride and prejudice? And if they can, what will be the result of it?

This was the first time I have read Pride and Prejudice and it has cemented Jane Austen as one of my favorite authors. The story line was intricate, marked by detail, humor and romance. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are an enjoyable match and I sympathized with Elizabeth's irritation. I was especially amused by the character of Mr. Bennet. His wit had me laughing, while at other times, his parenting skills appeared to be sorely lacking.

Austen masterfully crafted this story that was published when she was only 21. I am a little in awe of Jane Austen. The two other books by her that I have read were good, but, in my opinion, this one is the best.

This Barnes & Noble Classic edition included an Introduction and Notes by Carol Howard. The Notes were especially helpful in understanding certain portions and the introduction was good. However, the introduction contained a lot of spoilers and I am thankful I read it after reading the book.