For quite a while now I have been interested in reading a bunch of books that, for one reason or another, I missed out on when I was back in school. I’ve found it much more enjoyable to read now that I am able to do it as leisure instead of an assignment; it’s more fun to read something you want to read than something you have to read.
A while ago I borrowed Pride & Prejudice as well as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies from my friend, Sarah P. For quite some time I had wanted to read P&P&Z, and had even considered buying it more than a few times on Amazon. And as far back as I could remember, I had never really had any interest in reading P&P, mainly because English literature from that period is not a favorite of mine. In general, literature from the 18th and 19th centuries is not my cup of tea, though a lot of that can be blamed on having to read Dickens’ Great Expectations in 9th grade and being driven nuts by how Dickens would seemingly take 5 pages to describe things. I found him too verbose.
However, I actually did see the 2005 film version of the book, staring Keira Knightley, and i had read reports that a movie was in the works for the zombified version, so I decided to read them both. And I thought I would appreciate the zombified version even more if I read it concurrently with the original, chapter for chapter, in order to see what was altered and changed. I expected to enjoy the zombified version. What I did not expect was how much I would enjoy the original novel as well. It didn’t hurt that I was able to picture Keira Knightley in my head as Elizabeth for the entire book.
I didn’t realize that there was as much humor in P&P as there is. The father is entertaining, especially his constant little jabs he takes at his absurd wife (who is so ridiculous as to be nearly insufferable). The younger sisters were equally pathetic creatures. And the banter that goes on between characters was also quite good. And, honestly, it is a very impressive romance that is developed over the course of the book, and also quite an intricate story overall.
The zombified version was equally entertaining, though in different ways. I loved the substitution of sword fights with ninjas in place of piano playing at gatherings. It is amazing how well the natural beats of the original story actually lends itself to the addition of the living dead to the story. Instead of it just being better to keep Jane at Netherfield because she is sick, it is also advisable because of how treacherous it is to travel with roaming herds of undead. The walk around the grounds of Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley estate takes on added significance. Even Charlotte agreeing to marry Mr. Collins is seen in a new light. The author did a very good job of adding his own bit of flair to the already solid story.
If you are a fan of Jane Austen, do yourself a favor and give P&P&Z a try. You will appreciate it. I appreciate the zombie version for what it is, but also because it gave me a chance to approach a very good piece of literature that I probably would not have otherwise enjoyed. I can ‘t say that I am inclined to read anything else by Jane Austen, but I can definitely say that I did enjoy this book. It far exceeded my expectations.