Pride and Prejudice was a great follow-up to Middlemarch (MM). Where MM was long-winded and a bit of a slog, P&P was, by comparison, a light and easy read. That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as I’ve found Austen’s writing to be clever and her style to be smooth. She’s just goshdarn easy to read; I didn’t even need an audiobook to get through this one! Although, admittedly, it did take me longer to read than I would have liked.
The largest drama of the text came not from the main storyline (Elizabeth and Darcy – will they or won’t they? *dum dum dum*) but from Lydia’s scandalous marriage to Wickham. Nothing of note happened in this book until Lydia decided to run away with Wickham, motivated by nothing more than boredom and a penchant for rebellion, as far as I can tell.
“Nothing of note?!” I can hear the incredulity in your voices already. Yes, nothing of note. Elizabeth and Darcy were all “Do I like him? Do I hate him? I just don’t know” and “Well I do love her but I can’t very well go against the social order, can I?”; Jane (of course, there was a “Jane” and, of course, she was perfect) and Bingley were too busy being worried about what others thought to act on their feelings; and the rest of the cast went on with their own inconsequential lives.
Side bar: Collins is an ass-hat. Did you read that letter he wrote to Mr. Bennet after Lydia ran away?? Pure sass and ass-hattery.
So, yes, nothing of note. I stand by it. What I can’t understand is why Lydia would run away with Wickham, of all people. Wickham?! Isn’t there some kind of sisterly law out there that says you can’t date your sister’s ex-love interest? Also, she was 16!
Everyone loses their mind on Lydia for doing exactly what a 16-year-old does – rebel. Oh, she was boy crazy? She was 16 and she lived next to a militia! What did you think would happen?
Even still, with all those soldiers to pick from, she chose a useless, Fred Vincy of a man in Wickham. A man who has to be bailed out of every town he walks through and can’t get a job on his own merit to save his life. And somehow he’s Mr. Bennet’s favourite son-in-law. How?
Well. Moving on. I found P&P to be largely predictable in plot, but nevertheless delightful as a result of Austen’s witty and seamless writing. I won’t lie, it also seemed downright short coming off of MM, which was nice.
Now I can read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and watch the movie.