Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Meyer Spacks’

Book Review: “Pride And Prejudice”  (1813©)
Today’s book is a classic “romance” novel written by Jane Austen.  The edition / version I have is the “Annotated Edition” edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks which came out in 2010 and was a Christmas present to me from my wife (Hilary).  It was actually a present a couple of Christmas’ ago and I’m just getting around to reading it (and reviewing it).
The story is probably familiar to most: Prince Charming meets girl, they offend each other, they fall in love, lots of secondary story lines build the plot, they fall in love, Charming saves the day, they marry and live happily ever after.  Did I mention they fall in love?  Charming is a stuffy, rich aristocrat (hence “Prince”).  Girl is a vivacious, but prim and proper young woman who is from landed gentry, but not rich (only relative to Prince).  And, despite their both being “stuck up”, they fall in love…
I came to this book via the movie (2005), BBC mini-series (1995), movie (Indian version 2004), movie (1940) and a secondary source – “The Jane Austen Book Club” – movie (2007).  I have  reviewed the 2005 movie (here), and the Indian version (actually titled “Bride And Prejudice“, here), and the BBC and 1940’s version (here).  I recently viewed the “Book Club” movie, but I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it.  It did, however, prompt me to bump the book version up to my “read next” list from my “get around to” list.
So, if I’ve clearly enjoyed the movies so much, what did I think of the original story and – more specifically – this version?  This “book” started off a VERY hard read.  I have not read very many “annotated” versions of anything before and I found it quite a labor.  For one thing, the book starts off with a 20-plus page restatement of the book and why the editor feels it needs to be annotated.  If I had not read the original book or seen any of the movies, I would have been completely put off by the editor completely giving away the story.  If I wanted a summary at the start, I’d have simply purchased Cliff Notes to read before the book.
Next, the annotations “probably” doubled the length of the print in this version.  The original was about 350 pages, but was a small book.  This version is almost 450 pages, but half of each page is allotted as space for the notations and images.  Indeed, some of the notations, spill over either onto the next page (which makes for a confusing read) or take an entire page (which disrupts the flow of the reader).  Also, some of the notations highlighted the same information repeatedly or were used as citations of evidence to support arguments and interpretations made in the introduction / summary.  I would estimate it took me fully 80 to 100 pages before I got used to the notes.  Having said this, they were occasionally interesting additions which added to my understanding of the story.  I guess I’m saying that, in the end, I found the notes  a useful addition to the story.
Separate from the annotations, did I enjoy the book?  Yes!  Tremendously.  And, I highly recommend it!  Not being a student of English history, I cannot vouch for the historical accuracy of the book, but really, is that why anyone EVER reads a romance novel.  I certainly don’t…  What I would say is that as a fan of the various cinematic versions, I am very happy to have finally read the original novel.
Of course, now I’m sure to be tempted to read her other five books and see their movie versions.  At the very least, I’m going to go back and re-watch the BBC and 2005 versions.  Just ’cause that’s the way I roll…
On This Day In:
2017 Being Nice
2016 Zero To Some = Most
2015 Born More Obligated
2014 Rage And Fury
2013 Successful Children
2012 For God So Loved The World
2011 Go Cheeseheads!!
Structured Mentality

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