A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.
Written by Bernie Su, the series’ executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.
This is a novelisation of a hugely popular web series and is clearly doing its job for the fans, if early reviews re anything to go by.
Yes, this is Pride and Prejudice redone with modern-day Americans. Clueless for the next generation. The problem is that it doesn’t work for me in book form, either.
I had two problems with the web series: I needed subtitles to understand the woman muttering her way through the main character’s lines (and let’s be clear: I’ve lived in four English-speaking countries on three continents!), and the fact the ADULT characters behaved like schoolkids.
I prefer the book, if only because I don’t have to suffer through the annoying acting. However, this still reads like YA fiction even though the characters are into their twenties and beyond.
However, this is a present for the fans, and there’re many of them. It’s not the book’s fault I wasn’t converted; it’s just not for me.
One problem I – and many others – will have is that the Mr Bingley character has been renamed Bing Lee. Now, in this part of the world, Bing Lee is a homeware chain store with an appalling television jingle and some really cheesy ads (buy a fridge and get a free Christmas turkey!). If you’re from here, it’s probably going to be very distracting!
If you’re a fan of transporting 19th century English literature to contemporary America, you’ll probably enjoy this. For me, it all seemed far too immature. At least in Clueless they actually were teenagers!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.