Richard Derus's Reviews > Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
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really liked it
bookshelves: kindled

Well-loathed books I've re-read

Rating: 4 very annoyed, crow-feathered stars out of five

The Book Report: No. Seriously. If your first language isn't English, or if you're like nine years old, you might not know the story. Note use of conditional.


My Review: All right. All right, dammit! I re-read the bloody thing. I gave it two stars before. I was wrong-headed and obtuse and testosterone poisoned. I refuse to give it five stars, though. Look, I've admitted I was wrong about how beautiful the writing is, and how amusing the story is. Don't push.

Stephen Sullivan, who rated this with six stars of five, is now on a summer travel break from Goodreads, so I can publish this admission: He was right. It is a wonderful book. I had to grow into it, much as I had to grow into my love for Mrs. Dalloway. But now that I'm here, I am a full-on fan.

Deft is a word that seems to have been created for Austen. She writes deftly, she creates scenes deftly. She isn't, despite being prolix to a fault, at all heavy-handed or nineteenth-century-ish in her long, long, long descriptions. She is the anti-Dickens: Nothing slapdash or gimcrack or brummagem about her prose, oh nay nay nay. Words are deployed, not flung or splodged or simply wasted. The long, long, long sentences and paragraphs aren't meant to be speed-read, which is what most of us do now. They are meant to be savored, to be treated like Louis XIII cognac served in a cut-crystal snifter after a simple sole meunière served with haricots verts and a perfect ripe peach for dessert.

The romantic elements seem, at first blush, a wee tidge trite. And they are. Now. Why are they? Because, when Miss Jane first used them in Pride and Prejudice, they worked brilliantly and they continue so to do unto this good day. Why? Because these are real feelings expressed in a real, genuine, heartfelt way, as constrained by the customs of the country and times. And isn't that, in the end, what makes reading books so delicious? I, a fat mean old man with no redeeming graces, a true ignorant lower-class lout of the twenty-first century, am in full contact with the mind, the heart, the emotional core of a lady of slender means born during the reign of George III.

You tell me what, on the surface of this earth, is more astonishing, more astounding, more miraculous than that. Jane Austen and I Had A Moment. She's Had A Moment with literally millions of English-speakers for over 200 years. She's had moments with non-English speakers for more than a century. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are cultural furniture for a large percentage of the seven billion people on the planet. (Large here is a relative term. Less than one? Still amazing for a book 200 years old.)

Reading is traveling in time, in space, but most importantly inside. Inside yourself, inside the characters' emotions, inside the author's head and heart. It is a voyage of discovery, whether you're reading some bizarro mess, Dan Brown's mess, religious tracts, Twilight, whatever. You-the-reader are going somewhere in a more intimate contact than you-the-reader have with any other being on the planet. Movies, TV, sex, none of them take you as deep into the essence of feeling and emotion as reading does. And no, snobs, it does NOT matter if it's well written, it matters that the book speaks to the reader. (Sometimes, of course, what one learns is how very shallow and vapid some people are...I'm lookin' at you, Ms. Fifty Shades.)

So I thank that rotten, stinkin' Stephen-the-absent Sullivan, safe in the knowledge he won't see me admitting this, for reminding me to live up to my own goal of remaining open to change. I heard him yodeling his rapture, and I revisited the book, and I learned something valuable:

Only admit you're wrong when the person you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of isn't around to see.

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Reading Progress

June 24, 2010 – Shelved
Started Reading
June 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
March 15, 2018 – Shelved as: kindled

Comments Showing 1-50 of 89 (89 new)


K.D. Absolutely If this wins our book club poll for October 2012, I promise to re-read this and see if I will have the same experience. Nice review!


Richard Derus Thank you, KD!


Algernon (Darth Anyan) I only read this once, about 30 years ago. Your review makes me think I was very wrong not to go back to it. I'll try to remedy this before the end of the year.
Thanks for push.


Nataliya Lovely review, Richard! I guess it's another book that I now feel compelled to reread. Too many books, too little time...


message 5: by carol. (new)

carol. Nice timing. *eyeroll*


message 6: by Evan (new)

Evan Leach Wonderful review, Richard.


Riku Sayuj I can throw this at people who raise their eye brows at Jane Austen on my shelves now. Thanks.


s.penkevich Ha loved this review. I also was swayed by testosterone in early youth on this book, and plan to revisit it soon since Emma and Bronte's Jane Eyre has captured my bitter heart. I'm with you, the writing is just too good and to discredit anything would not be 'in accordance with my countenance'.
I was wondering why I hadn't seen a review all week from Stephen S


Chris Always nice to see a man enjoying some classic chick lit...


message 10: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma This is the one important Austen I've yet to read. Thinkin' I just might have to move it up the list. I read Northanger Abbey as part of a Gothic Lit class, loved it, and liked everything of hers I read after that.


message 11: by Terry (new)

Terry Awesome review Richard, I especially liked the thought: "They are meant to be savored, to be treated like Louis XIII cognac served in a cut-crystal snifter after a simple sole meunière served with haricots verts and a perfect ripe peach for dessert." I love books like that...though I also don't always appreciate them at the time and need to come back when I'm ready for them.

And: "Reading is traveling in time, in space, but most importantly inside. Inside yourself, inside the characters' emotions, inside the author's head and heart. It is a voyage of discovery..." ought to be posted as the raison d'être of the site.

Well done! If you're still hungry for crow I can still point you towards Cloud Atlas :)


message 12: by Melki (new)

Melki Do I hear the sounds of chuckling wafting across the Nevada desert?


Arthur Graham "some bizarro mess, Dan Brown's mess, religious tracts, Twilight, whatever"

You hear that? Bizarro has finally made it! ;-)


Richard Derus Algernon wrote: "I only read this once, about 30 years ago. Your review makes me think I was very wrong not to go back to it. I'll try to remedy this before the end of the year.
Thanks for push."


When you revisit it, I hope it calls to you the way it did to me, Algernon.


Richard Derus Nataliya wrote: "Lovely review, Richard! I guess it's another book that I now feel compelled to reread. Too many books, too little time..."

The problem only grows more pressing with age, I assure you. *sigh*


Richard Derus Carol wrote: "Nice timing. *eyeroll*"

Heh.


Richard Derus Evan wrote: "Wonderful review, Richard."

Thank you, Evan. This re-read was a wonderful reminder that closing down is dangerous.


Richard Derus Riku wrote: "I can throw this at people who raise their eye brows at Jane Austen on my shelves now. Thanks."

Heh. Happy to be of service, Riku. It is a small recompense for the reviews you've written that, when I quote them, give me a spurious air of erudition.


Richard Derus s.penkevich wrote: "Ha loved this review. I also was swayed by testosterone in early youth on this book, and plan to revisit it soon since Emma and Bronte's Jane Eyre has captured my bitter heart. I'm with you, the wr..."

It will repay your poetry-lovin' soul, Sven.

Yeah, the Sullivans are summer travelin' and so he's offline for a while. I hope we'll see him again in the fall.


Richard Derus Chris wrote: "Always nice to see a man enjoying some classic chick lit..."

It's classic chick lit? Oh noes!


Richard Derus Mike wrote: "This is the one important Austen I've yet to read. Thinkin' I just might have to move it up the list. I read Northanger Abbey as part of a Gothic Lit class, loved it, and liked everything of hers I..."

Northanger Abbey is a good deal grumpier than this book is. Her touch here is lighter and, in the pre-Stonewall meaning of the word, gayer than N.A..

Long ago, I liked N.A. a lot better than I liked this, so I think I won't re-read that one....


Richard Derus Terry wrote: "Awesome review Richard..."

Thank you, Terry!

Terry wrote: "If you're still hungry for crow I can still point you towards Cloud Atlas :)"

Sooner I would die, thank you please.


Richard Derus Melki wrote: "Do I hear the sounds of chuckling wafting across the Nevada desert?"

Fortunately, he won't be here for months, so this little review will be long buried and forgotten and I don't need to hear the horse-laugh right in my face.


Richard Derus Arthur wrote: ""some bizarro mess, Dan Brown's mess, religious tracts, Twilight, whatever"

You hear that? Bizarro has finally made it! ;-)"


Since my June NaNovel is bizarro, it would be remiss of me not to admit the genre to the Big Time of fun-poking.


Arthur Graham Richard wrote: "Since my June NaNovel is bizarro, it would be remiss of me not to admit the genre to the Big Time of fun-poking"

In any case, it's just such an honor to appear alongside such literary luminaries as Brown and Meyer - Finally, some respect! ;-)

What is this June NaNovel?


message 26: by Karla (new)

Karla Great review, Richard, but you won't ever convince me to give this one (or Jane Eyre) another try. *digs in heels a little deeper*


message 27: by Hend (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hend Only admit you're wrong when the person you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of isn't around to see.

Lol

:D


Richard Derus Arthur wrote: "What is this June NaNovel?"

Schwent convinced me to do Camp NaNoWriMo. I decided to do HP Lovecraft III, unknown grandson of HP, as victim of the Great Cuttlefish Invasion Conspiracy, headed by the actual Cthulhu. Lots of interspecies anal sex, poor HPIII.


Richard Derus Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Great review, Richard, but you won't ever convince me to give this one (or Jane Eyre) another try. *digs in heels a little deeper*"

I'm amazed *I* tried again!


message 30: by Richard (last edited Jun 15, 2012 12:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Richard Derus Hend wrote: "Only admit you're wrong when the person you don't want to embarrass yourself in front of isn't around to see.

Lol

:D"


[image error]


message 31: by Hend (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hend :D


message 32: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark Great review Richard of a great book but I feel I ought to point out to you.....you do realize Stephen will still be able to read this late or are you planning to go off on a long sabbatical of your own come Autumn ?


Elaine lol does this mean you may eventually like something by Dickens?


Tracy Great review Richard. I think I need to reread this too!


Richard Derus Thanks, Tracy! It's so worth it. I just wish I'd done it before I was 52.


message 36: by Brad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brad Open minded much? You may rock the world.


Richard Derus Brad wrote: "Open minded much? You may rock the world."

Thanks, Brad! It's worth remembering that rockin' your own world comes from within. Oh how I hate to admit that.


Brittany B. Fantastic!!! Priceless!


Richard Derus Brittany B. wrote: "Fantastic!!! Priceless!"

Thanks Brittany! Lovely of you to say.


Richard Derus Mark wrote: "Great review Richard of a great book but I feel I ought to point out to you.....you do realize Stephen will still be able to read this late or are you planning to go off on a long sabbatical of you..."

Where did this post come from? It wasn't visible to me in June! Oh well...anyway, no indeed Mark, Stephen (assuming he decides to come back) will have waaay too much catching up to do to notice one silly little review.

I hope. I'm counting on it.


Richard Derus Tracy wrote: "Great review Richard. I think I need to reread this too!"

Aack! Another post from June! Hmmm...anyway, put it on the schedule, for sure, Tracy, it's worth the time.


message 42: by Henry (last edited Jul 31, 2012 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Henry Avila Loved Pride and Prejudice also,and your enjoyable review.Richard, does that mean I have to read all Jane Austen's books like my sister?


Richard Derus Henry wrote: "Loved Pride and Prejudice also,and your enjoyable review.Richard, does that mean I have to read all Jane Austen's books like my sister?"

Unless you want to be a woman, no. The gynergy in these books is best spaced out so as to avoid growing a uterus.


message 44: by Ása (new) - added it

Ása Margrét Loved your review but not just the review about the book but the review about books and reading in general.... this part puts everything I feel about reading perfectly..
Reading is traveling in time, in space, but most importantly inside. Inside yourself, inside the characters' emotions, inside the author's head and heart. It is a voyage of discovery, whether you're reading some bizarro mess, Dan Brown's mess, religious tracts, Twilight, whatever. You-the-reader are going somewhere in a more intimate contact than you-the-reader have with any other being on the planet. Movies, TV, sex, none of them take you as deep into the essence of feeling and emotion as reading does.

When you put it like this I just cant understand why people don't like reading :)

About the book, English is not my first language so this book is a bit heavy but I struggled through it and I am glad I did.
Sorry in advance for any grammar errors and stuff, as I said English is not my first language :)


Henry Avila Asa nice thoughts.You put it very well,very well indeed.Reading to most people today, is too much hard work!


Richard Derus Ása, I agree with Henry, you put it very well indeed! Thank you so much for coming here to say nice things about the points I make in the review.

And your English is just fine!


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Anti-Dickens...HAHAHAHAHA! EXACTLY! (because I adore Miss Austen and am not a fan of Dickens, sorry.)


Richard Derus No apologies for disliking Chuckles the Dick are needed around me, ever.


message 49: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mark just have seen that you did finally respond to my comment of three months ago. i felt rejected and ignored. i am so relieved that it was just that you didn't see it and not that you hated me lol


Richard Derus Mark wrote: "just have seen that you did finally respond to my comment of three months ago. i felt rejected and ignored. i am so relieved that it was just that you didn't see it and not that you hated me lol"

Oh no, make no mistake, I *do* hate you, but I'm not ill-mannered.

;-P


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