It may be simplistic to say that reading the books listed above or any book will help to solve our issues. However, I believe that by at least beginning to understand another’s perspective, the doors to communication, understanding, and diversity may truly start to open.
My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie by Todd Fisher: When Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds departed this world two years ago, no one knew them better than their brother and son. The book is a love letter to them by one of the people who knew and loved them best.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: A young girl growing up in the wilds of Alaska learns some hard truths about life, love and marriage.
For over 200 years, the unexpected courtship and hate turned to love relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has thrilled readers.
Ibi Zoboi is one of the newest writers to update Pride and Prejudice to the modern era. This year, she published Pride, set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick.
Zuri Benitez has lived in Bushwick her entire life. The second of five daughters of Afro-Caribbean parents, Zuri is proud of her neighborhood, her family and her heritage. But her neighborhood is changing. The Darcys have just moved across the street from Zuri and her family. They have purchased and renovated what was a rundown building and have two teenage sons. Zuri’s elder sister, Janae starts dating Ainsley Darcy, but Zuri develops an immediate dislike for Darius Darcy. Will they ever get along and find common ground or are they destined to hate each other?
I really and truly enjoyed this book. It still felt like Pride and Prejudice, but felt modern at the same time. Though the book is set in modern-day Bushwick, I could still hear Jane’s voice as a writer. When adapting Pride and Prejudice or any other classic novel for the modern era, some writers are unable to keep of the voice of the original writer while adapting the story and the characters. Ms. Zoboi is able to balance the world of her characters with the narratives and characters that Jane Austen fans know and love.
Pride and Prejudice is a beloved and well read classic for a reason. Since it arrived in bookstores and libraries in 1813, many writers have tried to replicate the magic that gives Pride and Prejudice it’s standing. While many have tried, only a few have hit the mark.
In 2014, writer Mary Jane Hathaway threw her hat in the Austen-reboot sub-genre. One of the results is Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits, a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice set in the modern-day American South. Shelby Roswell is a history professor teaching at a small Southern college, her expertise is The Civil War. Recently publishing a book on the subject, she hopes that this book will lead to being tenured. That tenure is quickly derailed by Ransom Fielding, a historian whose review of Shelby’s book is far from complementary. Adding insult to injury, Ransom has agreed to take on the role of a visiting professor at the same college. After loosing his wife 6 years ago, he has buried his head in the sand when it comes to life and love. Then he meets Shelby and the sparks begin to fly.
Anyone who knows me or follows this blog knows that Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books. Jane Austen was a master in the art of writing. Some writers are fortunate enough to be able to reproduce her works successfully. While I enjoyed Ms. Hathaway’s modern take on Persuasion, I can’t say the same about her take on Pride and Prejudice. For a reader or an audience to be invested in a romance, they have to see the potential in the coupling of the lead characters, even if at some point in the narrative, the lead characters are not sure themselves. While the romance between Shelby and Ransom was on the page, as a reader I did not feel it.
Words, words, words... well said Hamlet! A little blog to go off on tangents within the worlds of history and literature that interest me. From the Tudors to Tom Hardy's Tess, or from the Wars of the Roses to Wuthering Heights, feel free to browse through my musings to pick up extra ideas and points for discussion!