Note: If you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, STOP! Go and read it now!
Being apart of a fandom is great fun, and most of time I enjoy running into other fans. But we’ve all experienced the uber fan and Janeites (Jane Austen lovers) are no different. The mere thought of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, whether book or movie, is sacrilegious to them. Though I dearly love Pride and Prejudice, I don’t think the novel needs to be put up on a pedestal. There have been hundreds of re-tellings and faux-sequels, why not have something fun and over-the-top for a change?
I went in so hopeful that this book would be different. I have to be honest with my readers… I didn’t finish the book. **ducks from the backlash** I really tried! I tried to push through, but I couldn’t even make it halfway. My brain kept shutting down.
Before I go into a full-blown rant let’s look at some positives. I really dug the first fifty pages. Unique concepts and humor are always pluses in my book. The transformation of Elizabeth Bennett to hardened Zombie killer was awesome. Now I want a movie with this Elizabeth side-by-side with Michonne from The Walking Dead just tearing through hordes of Zombies.
Sadly that’s as from as the love goes. Maybe I should have taken the title more literally because I didn’t realize that Grahame-Smith was just going to take the original text of Pride and Prejudice and essentially tac on zombies. A few years ago I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer, which I feel was far more successful. In that book, Grahame-Smith took the highlights of Lincoln’s life and created his own unique narrative. That novel’s tone and humor was able to thrive in the world Grahame-Smith created.
The sections of this book where Grahame-Smith strays from the original text and tries to build a background are the strongest. When he’s just changing a word or two in a few paragraphs… not so much. The whole experience was disjointed. After those first fifty pages I just wanted to read Pride and Prejudice again, instead of this mess.
The other major pet peeve also stemmed from Grahame-Smith’s over reliance on Austen’s text. I strongly believe he should have rewritten the story, keeping the major events but taking more liberty with the narrative. Since Grahame-Smith boxed himself in, he was unable to explain certain aspects of the story, like why the girls walk around outside all the time when ‘unmentionables’ are everywhere. Also, what the hell do balls, good-breeding, or getting married even matter anymore?!
I know some of my readers might tell me to lighten up because the book is supposed to be fun. I understand that, and Grahame-Smith definitely has an eye for humor. My frustration stems from no explanation. Of anything. Ever. Grahame-Smith could of had a lot of fun explaining why any of the pomp of the 1800s even matters to Bennetts (or the English is general) in a world where zombies exist.
Without the world building I was just reading someone copy and paste Austen’s text, dumb down some sections (and Austen’s beautiful words!) and just casually toss in a lot of Zombie references. That got old really quick.
So I hope my readers don’t think ill of me for being unable to finish, especially those who liked this novel. I don’t plan on ditching often but I just…couldn’t.
Let’s hope the movie is better.
Score: One poor little Zombie searching for brains.
In the Margins:
- I still have high hopes for the movie. I have a huge girl crush on Lily James and the previews promised ass-kicking!
- For those who love modern versions of Pride and Prejudice may I suggest The Lizzy Bennett Diaries? Now that’s an adaptation.
- Just a reminder the movie review will be posted Tuesday. I’ll try to keep it spoiler-free like my book reviews.
- Next Book: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr