It is a Truth Universally Acknowledged…

For those who believed me dead these past months, I have some surprising news.

I have spent my time mindlessly wandering… searching for something to satiate my needs… my hunger.  I see visions of those like me…  groaning and clawing…  drawn by some instinctive force that compels us to devour whatever opportunity allows.  I am in a frenzy. I cannot remember who I was… what I was.  The others… they do not like me… I do not like them either. We all hunger for the same thing, yet only one can feast… there is only one job… and apparently brains are often optional.

I leave in my wake a blood, sweat, and tear-soaked trail of applications, resumes, and annoying assessments. What is left to do but drudge on?  Drudging, one soon discovers, leads to an increase in free-time, which logically leads to an increase in discovering interesting novels, such as my most recent find:

prideandprejudiceandzombies

Let me start by establishing the fact that I am a Jane Austen fan and I absolutely LOVE Pride and Prejudice. I have read the novel several times, and seen the BBC/A&E mini-series so many times, I can practically recite it by heart. (Please do not get me started on Universal Studio’s newer attempt… the Bollywood musical Bride and Prejudice was even better than that.) Anyway…

I expected to find this book funny, but was concerned as to how much damage was done to the classic. I soon discovered this novel was as true to the original storyline as could be possible. On these grounds, I found myself able to at least respect Seth Grahame-Smith. I will say, however, that this novel does assume you’ve read the original. While it is possible that this novel could stand alone; there are several instances where the author assumes you already know the characters’  personalities and their inter-relationships. A lot of the dialogue (and consequently the character development) from the original is summarized. Those who have never experienced the classic miss the opportunity to figure these things out on their own. An early example:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies simply states which daughters are favored by each parent, omitting the somewhat obvious clues of the original.

It would be a concern that if the storyline is followed so closely, that the novel would soon become predictable and boring. But this was not the case. Despite knowing exactly what was going to happen next, I was anticipating how it was going to happen. The addition of these “unmentionables” adds interesting opportunities to a stroll to Meryton.  It also adds a new dimension to the characters. Suddenly it is not JUST about how much one makes a year; being desirable or accomplished also means owning a diverse number of fighting talents and being able to say you’ve killed so many of Satan’s army.  To me, this contribution was bittersweet. In allowing Elizabeth and her sisters to know martial arts, swordplay, and musketry (among others), it takes characters out of the social-constructs of the time period. Grant it, social constructs can change under circumstances such as a zombie holocaust or the like, I find these new-found freedoms take away from the whole point of the original novel… to satirize those social standards. The purpose of this novel has therefore changed, from being a satire (like the original) to being a comedy. This is not a bad thing; it is just something to keep in mind.

One thing I thought was lacking in this novel was some explanation as to how this zombie plague started, progressed, or was being dealt with. Several opportunities could have easily lent themselves to this purpose (the troops being in Meryton, Lady Catherine’s serum, etc.)  This would have deepened the additions that were made to the original novel.  Due to a lack of depth, zombies were more like an aspect of setting rather than characters. They were interacted with like objects in the room (only messier).  The threat of them being around did not really build suspense either, since most of the characters were more than able to deal with them easily.  The social conditions of fighting were never explained either. I was nearly done with the book before realizing that women weren’t allowed to fight after marriage, yet they were still able to train… to a point. There is a lot of gray area that probably should have been explained.

All-in-all, this was a great book. Parts were laugh-out-loud hilarious, while others seemed contemplatively serious. The pacing was comfortable and I felt satisfied after I turned the last page. The version I purchased contained a Discussion Guide that was nearly equally entertaining. The illustrations were a fun addition as well.  It was a good read and a good purchase.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. Mr. D said,

    June 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I can safely say that you did enjoy this book thoroughly… the laughing, the crying, the horrifying facial expressions with each turn of the page. Good stuff that I will miss watching you do on a daily basis.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: