I re-read my favorite for #cbr10bingo Throwback Thursday, partly because it is still my favorite book, and party because I had just finished reading Heartstone, a fantasy version of P + P. I felt I needed to go back to the source.
I am not sure that there is much left to be said about this book. It has been the subject of theses, reviewed by everyone from high schoolers to Ph.D. students. And I fully admit that I could not get the image of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy out of my head. I mean:
If I was writing this review for The Book was Better bingo category, I would spend my review commenting on that scene alone, particularly since it is not in the book.
What I love most about this book is how timeless it is. Yes, it is set in Austen’s society were women had to get married as a matter of their survival and security. There were very formal societal rules to follow. But what makes this book so wonderful is how Austen writes on each of these things in a way that sound like she is commenting on the absurdity of it all. Mrs. Bennett and Lydia are the most obvious with their obsession with balls and gossip and marriage. Mr. Bennett is, although fundamentally kind, rather dismissive of his wife and daughters. Even sweet Jane is the “perfect” woman – beautiful, kind, demure…
It is because of these characters that we love Elizabeth so much. In rereading this book for the first time since who knows when, I came upon my favorite chapter, which I had completely forgotten about.
SPOILER ALERT from this point! If you have not read the book, beware! I am about to discuss the ending.
In chapter 60, Elizabeth basically gets Mr. Darcy to admit that he fell in love with her because she is sassy and outspoken and different than most women of her time.
“Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?”
“For the liveliness of your mind, I did.”
“You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them.”
In this chapter alone Jane Austen shows us what she really thinks of her societal rules. She was a woman living in the wrong century. Today, in our society, she would have been a leader, both admired by some and hated by others. She would have been great.
This is why I keep coming back to this author, and to this book in particular. If you have not read it, or if you have not read it recently, it is time to pick it up. And now, I am off to watch Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in the BBC classic.