It's official. Jane Austen has ruined all other books for me. I finished Pride & Prejudice and wanted to cry because I didn't want it to end. It was seriously that wonderful. Like most of Shakespeare's works, it took me about a third of the book to get into the groove of the language, but once it clicked, that was it; I could hardly put it down (despite already knowing how the story ends). I absolutely adore the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and I'm almost sorry that Evan turned out to be a boy because had he been a girl his name would have been Elizabeth and then I could have said that wonderful name out loud all day long. And Mr. Darcy! Oh, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. I can just imagine the young ladies of Austen's time swooning over him like today's teenagers do over Twilight's Edward Cullen. He's tall, handsome, rich, compassionate and completely and utterly in love with Elizabeth. The writing, though difficult to understand at first, is prose at its absolute best and while the "woe is me for no one has asked me to marry him" whining grew a bit old, I had to remind myself that for the women of Austen's class and time, making a "proper match" meant the difference between a life of prosperity and one of poverty. If you're looking for a period romance novel, this one is for you. Run - don't walk - to the library to get it! *****
As a reward for finishing the above book, I watched the A&E version of the movie, or as I refer to it, the Colin Firth version. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy. Granted, I have a slight obsession with the man (Colin Firth, that is), but the movie is even better than I remembered. It follows the book better than most movies do and it made me sorry that I hadn't read the book earlier (so that I could reward myself with the movie).
The Keira Knightley version is good, too, but it leaves quite a bit out of the original story. I will say that the cinematography and musical soundtrack are better in this version and I quite like both Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but they just don't live up to Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the other version.
And if you're as obsessed with Pride & Prejudice as I'm appearing to be (really, I do like other books and movies!), you have to watch Lost in Austen. I'm serious - go find it right now. In this charming movie, a Miss Amanda Price of present-day London switches places with the fictional Elizabeth Bennet and bumbles her way through the story, changing the outcomes of several of the plot lines. New details concerning the character's histories are revealed and you will find yourself cheering for some of the unlikeliest characters. You will even come to adore Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Bennet, who in the original story is quite overbearing and annoying. This movie is now one of my all-time favorites. And I can watch it any time I want through the Wii thanks to Netflix - yay!
OK, I promise that's it on Pride & Prejudice. If you've made it this far without being bored to tears, then I applaud you. And if you're still willing to talk to me after a post full of swooning over fictional people, then you are true friend. :)