Monday, July 21, 2014

Title:       The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
Author:   Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Rating:   ★★★★1/2

I first heard about The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet from my blogger friend Amir, from The Not-So-Literary-Heiresses. I've repeatedly mentioned that I don't like retellings, especially of my favorite books, and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite stories--ever. But Amir, who is a fellow P&P fangirl, kept raving about it that I definitely became curious. So I started watching the accompanying vlogs, but they were insufficient for me, so I turned to the book.

That was one wise choice.

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series’ executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.

The vlogs were good, don't get me wrong, but I enjoyed reading the book more. It gave the characters more depth, and I was able to fully understand the characters. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet was a modern-day adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and I approve of several modernizations to the story and characters.

Lizzie was a graduate student of Communications, which I believe was a very good decision, since the characters in the story did have a lot of secrets. Mr. Darcy, though, was not given an explanation of why he was that snobbish, or he was really just shy. I was waiting for that explanation. Georgiana, I think, was spot-on, especially if she's a 21st century character.

I also liked the deviations from the characters of Jane, Charlotte, and Lydia. As much as I approve of Jane and Bing in P&P, I like that she was a stronger character in The Secret Diary, instead of just being too nice. Charlotte was also given more credence to her decision, and I am super happy she did not end up getting tied down to a man. That girl will do wonders. As for Lydia, I did wonder how the whole Wickham-Lydia debacle will play out, and the twist that the authors introduced was entirely plausible. And what modern-day Mr. Darcy did for Lizzie was as swoon-worthy as what the original Mr. Darcy did.

The twists in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet felt like what the reader wanted to happen to the characters, especially if you place them in the modern setting.

The writing was good, and was very smooth. At one point, it felt like a play because I kept seeing the actors and actresses in my mind's eye as I read. And when I finished reading, I wanted to clap for a job well done.

Do I recommend this? Yes, definitely! It's not going to replace Pride & Prejudice in my heart, but it does have a place of its own.