The first time I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I was in the 7th grade. My friend and I were competing to see who could rack up the most points in Accelerated Reader. I don’t know if you had that program as a kid, but it gave you points depending on the difficulty of the novel. Pride and Prejudice was a whopping 11 points. Needless to say, I crushed the competition.
I hadn’t read this work again until I realized my own hypocrisy in loving the 2005 movie. How could I call myself a decadent ink drinker and not have read the book more times than I had seen the movie? So I dove back in.
Once I could settle into the older style of English, I was swept away. The subtleties of the romance juxtaposed against the melodrama of the familial relationships is fantastic. I haven’t read other works by Jane Austen, but this will be a story that stays with you long after the cover is closed. You’ll have Elizabeth’s banter in your head the next time you’re at work and want to say something witty. You’ll remember Mrs. Bennet the next time you’re watching the news. When the chaos of the world is getting to you, you’ll want to be like Mr. Bennet and tuck yourself away in your study with this book.
But once you finish the story and find yourself desiring more, where do you turn? Do you choose the original 1940s movie, the TV mini-series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, or the 2005 movie with Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen? If you want the TV adaptation that best honors the story, choose director Joe Wright. You will delight in the writing, which lifts nearly all of the dialogue from the novel. You will marvel at his all-star cast whose chemistry feels so real, and who embodies the characters as perfectly as you had imagined them. You will not be disappointed in the retelling of a novel so close to your heart.