I’m not sure just how many different re-tellings I’ve read of Pride and Prejudice. At least six — Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Death Comes to Pemberly, a manga version of P & P, Longbourn, and Eligible — but really, I might have read a few more. I probably have.
But this one stands out a bit for me, because I really felt like I knew the characters from watching the youtube videos. For those who are unaware, there was a delightful web series a few years ago, in which the entire story of Pride and Prejudice was modernized and presented as two-minute video blog entries told from Lizzie’s perspective. I loved it so much, I was hiding from my kids when I was trying to finish watching it. It is absolutely binge-worthy and just a huge amount of fun.
This book is a tie-in to that web series, telling pretty much the same story, but with added detail. For instance, in the videos, we never get all of the details about Darcy’s letter telling us how much Wickham sucks. But in the book, we get the whole sordid story. And it really was presented like a diary, with little bits of paper (like Darcy’s letter) taped in, and showing us that the entire story — from meeting Darcy, to hating Darcy, to loving Darcy, took an entire year.
In this version, Lizzie is a grad student studying communications, with her best friend Charlotte Lu. For her term project, Lizzie decides to create a video blog and talk about her life and her family, including her sisters Jane and Lydia (Kitty is an actual kitty cat, and Mary is the dour, goth cousin). As she meets new people, like handsome neighbor Bing Lee and his friend Darcy, we hear all about them, but mostly just from Lizzie’s perspective.
Eventually, sleazy swimming coach George Wickham comes to town, and sets his eyes on Lizzie. When Lizzie realizes that George and Darcy hate each other, she makes assumptions and accusations on her vlog, and then feels horrible when she realizes that she was wrong.
And poor Lydia.
Not this nut-job.
Or this boy-crazy kook.
This Lydia is just trying to figure herself out. Yes, she makes mistakes, but she’s smart and strong. I really loved this Lydia. And I felt horribly for her when she gets herself in over her head with Wickham.
This version of P&P is the only one since Bridget Jones that I’ll probably ever revisit, so that’s gotta count for something. If you haven’t seen the web series, go watch it. You’ll love it. I swear. Darcy’s a hipster in a bow tie. How could you not love that?