Book Title: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
Author: Bernie Su & Kate Rorick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 2014
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
4 / 5 Stars
The book The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet arrived in my post unsolicited and I really did not know anything about it – I didn’t know it was a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice; I didn’t know about the YouTube sensation or award winning of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; I certainly didn’t know about the website. In fact not having ever read Pride and Prejudice I didn’t even know who Lizzie ( Elizabeth) Bennet was. The only character I was even superficially aware of was of course Mr Darcy. To say that I was going into this book with no background at all was an understatement. This would not do!
While I haven’t watched the videos, I have checked out the website and I decided that the best way to give this book a real chance was to at least do a tandem read of Pride and Prejudice. While this meant it took a bit longer to read this book I am really glad that I took the time. Without having read the classic I don’t think I would have appreciated the modern adaptation nearly as much. Sure it would have read as an entertaining story in itself but it certainly had, to coin a phrase, more of a sense of place this way.
Where I did not find much humour in the classic title I certainly found some gems in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. On page one the phrase “Hostile laundry takeover” had me chuckling and then again on page three the reference to Mrs Bennet being prepared to do a “two-for-one type deal. Or three” of her daughters depending on the potential husbands net worth. Throughout the book there are gems like these, another that took my fancy being “Time is ticking. Did you know there is a higher chance of getting killed by a terrorist than a woman getting married after thirty?” – laugh out loud at that one!
The characters were at times hilarious renditions of the originals. Lizzie was just as independent thinking and likeable, Lydia as “energetic” and Mrs Bennet as equally obsessed with her daughters marriage prospects. I really liked how this book successfully bought this classic into the digital era making it completely relevant to today yet retained the underlying sense of many of the original Bennet family relationships and encounters.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and thought that it translated the classic well to a modern day story. At some time I am likely to take a look at the Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos and this book will be going, alongside Pride and Prejudice, on my daughters bookshelf as something that I will happily encourage her to read in the future.