Author: Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Genre: YA contemporary (retelling of Pride and Prejudice)
Length: 400 pages
Published by: Penguin Teen Australia
Source: I bought it!
Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and 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. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.
So I really love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos.
I watched them all just after I’d finished reading Pride and Prejudice (back when I read classics…it was a weird time) and I absolutely LOVED them. I loved the sisters. I loved how it kept to the original storyline but changed certain things around. I loved the FORMAT and how I’d never seen Youtube videos like it.
And I mean, Jane is OBVIOUSLY my favourite.
And I did really like this book. I liked a lot of things about it. But let’s go to the things I DIDN’T like as much, because…well, there were a few of those too.
1) It felt too similar to the videos.
Honestly, I wanted more from the diary. Sure, there were a few revelations that weren’t included in the videos, but overall it felt like we were being TOLD what was happening rather than shown it – like it was only the surface of what was happening rather than a deeper look at it. And I know there are limitations with the diary format, but I would have liked to see more of her thoughts and feelings, the back-story of her and her sisters…I would have liked to see her thoughts towards Darcy develop more. Because I didn’t get the sense of getting to know Darcy at all.
I love the videos, but reading them in book version (even sometimes using a transcript from the videos in place of actual diary entries from Lizzie) was a little disappointing.
I mean, I wanted to see MORE of everyone – more of Charlotte and Bing and Lydia and Jane and Darcy and everyone else. But everything just felt too BRIEF and like it was a recount rather than a novel.
2) I didn’t like Lizzie as much in book form.
Lizzie does this…a LOT in both the videos and the book. She is over-the-top. She is judgemental. She is, yes, prejudiced. I do realise this was the point of the original novel. But it was a little harder to sympathise with Book-Lizzie compared to Vlog-Lizzie – her attitudes towards her sister Lydia were really quite harsh and I felt sorry for her more than I did in the videos.
So those were my two main quibbles.
I wanted to see more that wasn’t in the videos, and I wanted to connect with Lizzie – and in those two things I think this book fell short.
It is still a very enjoyable read. It is hilarious in places, and Lizzie’s witticisms do make it worthwhile.
I love the focus on the sisterly relationship between Lizzie, Lydia and Jane. I love that it’s about trying to achieve your dreams. I love that it’s about family. I love how it shows that initial impressions may be wrong.
So there is a lot to like in this book, and maaaany of my book blogger friends have given this 4 or 5 stars. I think it had potential to be absolutely amazing – building on a web series I absolutely loved, with characters I already knew and a really interesting retelling.
But overall, I definitely love the web series way more than the book.