Thursday, October 6, 2011
Prom and Prejudice
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.
Sounds a little cheesy but kind of fun, right? I kept seeing this title on YA book blogs, and I am such a P&P fan that I was worried this book would ruin the story, but curious at the same time just to see how it turned out.
There were lots of things that I liked and one major thing that I didn't.
First off, it was a cleverly realized setting. The major plot points from Pride and Prejudice and major characters transferred over to contemporary times surprisingly well. I particularly loved that Elizabeth was a professional concert pianist in the making. Music plays a big part in the plot and some of my favorite piano pieces (hello Rachmaninoff - love everything by him) were mentioned in detail. So, my inner music nerd was very happy about that. And it was just fun reading this, anticipating my favorite moments from the original and seeing them reinterpreted.
But my big problem (and the thing that kept me from really loving this) was the dialogue.
Elizabeth Eulberg attempted the impossible. She tried to take Austen's witty and clever dialogue and turn it into something modern. She failed miserably, and mostly because she tried to take exact sentences from the original and rework them by changing just a word here or there. She kept the sentence structure and a lot of the original wording, but would throw in random things like "cellphone" "jerk" "BFF" or "email". It was a colossal flop, in my opinion. The end result was waaayyyyy overly formal sounding. Not in the least bit natural or casual. Ugh. It was so hard to read the dialogue that it really ruined the book for me. I wish that Elizabeth Eulberg had just done her own interpretation of the dialogue, instead of trying to keep it so close to the original.
And the other issue I just can't get over is that an inconsequential thing like prom is never going to create the same compelling emotions as marriage and true love.
So, fun - but nowhere close.