I read Pride and Prejudice last week. Yes, for the first time. Rather embarrassing to admit that I, the self-confessed bookworm, had never read it.
I probably wouldn’t have thought of it now except that I just got a new Nook There were only a few books pre-loaded on it, and that was one of them, so I decided it was time.
So for the first two hundred pages, I was asking myself WHY is this such a celebrated classic? It’s just not that compelling. I can put it down anytime, no problem. I know how it’s going to end–it couldn’t possibly be more obvious even if I’d never heard of the book before. Then about halfway through, finally something happened. The youngest sister ran off with a man! A little spice to the story at last. From there on, it definitely was a little more entertaining.
After I finished it, I reflected back and wondered once again what had made it gather such acclaim. There is practically no action–in a book of over 400 pages, that’s hard to believe. The visual descriptions are unremarkable–I still have no clear picture of what any of the people actually look like, and the homes and landscape are sketchy. There is almost no change of scene. Most of the book happens in one drawing room or another, with an occasional walk in the garden thrown in. There are some good characters and a marked contrast between them, and really that’s all. And then I realized…the thing that makes this book is the dialogue. The conversations between the characters are practically the only thing of interest in the entire book! And it dawned on me that to write a book with very little action or good description, yet still keep people reading to the end, is actually quite an accomplishment.
I’m glad I read it. But I probably won’t be tempted to read it again.
So tell me….if you’re a P&P fan, what is it about the book that makes you love it?