Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

The story in this book is simply a re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, so I needn’t say any more on that subject. It starts a couple months earlier than Pride and Prejudice, though, in the summer rather than early fall.

I enjoyed it as a whole. I read at least half of it in one day, and finished it within three. I can’t remember the last time I went through a book that fast – but we were on vacation, and I had a lot of spare time just to read, and read…it was quite nice.

However, it didn’t capture Mr. Darcy quite the way I think of him – I didn’t think it got the character as well as in Mr. Knightley’s Diary, which I just finished.

One thing I did appreciate is that, wherever possible, the quotes came straight out of Pride and Prejudice; If you ignore the fact that there were no italics whatsoever, which, I thought, lessened the meaning of some quotes. Also, it often happened that the whole conversation was not included – which is understandable, but disappointed me in several spots. For example, at Netherfield when Jane was sick, a conversation was cut off before Elizabeth says “[Y]our defect is a propensity to hate everybody,” to which Mr. Darcy answers (with a smile) “And yours is willfully to misunderstand them.” The instance that made me most sad is that the spot of the second proposal doesn’t include Mr. Darcy calling her “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.” I don’t know about you, but that seems to me to be a very important Darcy quote!

There were a few other things that bugged me, too. One is Mr. Bingley. This book makes him out to be extremely inconsistent and fickle, especially where young women are concerned. I know he was supposed to be that way to a certain extent, but I don’t remember it being quite that exaggerated.

I wasn’t quite satisfied with how Mr. Darcy, it seemed, almost ‘accidentally’ proposed to Elizabeth the first time. It’s like he never actually acknowledged to himself that he was in love with her until that moment—he’d just thought himself too attracted to her…it’s hard to explain, but it’s not the way I would have pictured it.

And Lydia! I have always disliked Lydia, but she was made to be quite disgusting in here, I thought. “He did not make me elope with him, it was I who made him elope with me. Brighton was growing boring,” she declares to Mr. Darcy when he finds her and Wickham in London.

When Darcy tells Wickham he must marry Lydia, Wickham says “Come now, Darcy. You know I cannot do that…I need to marry an heiress.”

“Do you hear this?” Mr. Darcy asks Lydia, who answers “It does not signify. An heiress would bring us some money, then we could have a better house.”

Lydia is very irritatingly silly and senseless, but I wouldn’t imagine her saying that sort of thing.

One more thing: Jane, Bingley, Elizabeth, and Darcy have a double wedding. There was a double wedding in the 1995 movie too, but I don’t remember it being in the original novel. Am I wrong?

Anyways, it was very fun to read, and I recommend it to Jane Austen fans—especially those who already have a high opinion of Mr. Darcy.

19 comments:

Marian said...

Yeah, Darcy's character bothered me too, especially at the end when he and Lizzie are trying to get Anne and Col. Fitzwilliam together...it just seemed too Mrs-Bennet-ish! Besides that, I did enjoy the background story with Georgianna, but IMHO the book overall didn't seem to add anything worthwhile to P&P.

Melody said...

Oh yeah! I forgot about that. Although it was Anne and Col. Fitzwilliam getting together in general that bugged me, rather than Lizzy's desire to see it. :P

In MY humble opinion, I think that not much CAN be added to P&P, unless it adds to a disadvantage. Ha... But what it didn't do, to me, is reflect the brilliancy of P&P. It might have dulled it down a bit. Although I still enjoyed it. :)

Have you read any of the the other diaries?

Charity U said...

Hmmm...interesting. I will read this soon. :) Thanks for your thoughts! About the double wedding...can't remember. Will look it up. and that dearest loveliest quote...very important. But would Mr. Darcy have written that he said that? Just a thought.

Melody said...

Charity,

Well, "he" wrote all sorts of other things, and also -some- of the 'dearest loveliest' speech. I think it would not have been at all out of place in that book, and that the author was just trying to make it shorter.

Abby said...

I've heard a great deal about these books and have been meaning to read them ever since I read a few excerpts on the author's website and found myself intrigued!
Although I'm definitely encouraged to hurry up and get my hands on one by your review, it is a shame that the author missed out and cut short some quotes! Some of those you mentioned are some of my favourites. And the changes to some characters seem a little off, but I suppose part of it may be due to the author's interpretation of them. But it's always interesting to read books from a different viewpoint, and this book sounds like a fun read nonetheless :)
Amanda Grange's set of diaries seems one of the most popular Jane Austen re-tellings, but I'm curious whether there are any others anyone recommends any others.

~Abby

Marian said...

Well, I tried Mr Knightley's Diary, and I wanted to like it. But there's a part where he comments on politics and just says something vague like "I wish the fighting would stop. It is not good for anyone." That was where I gave up...it just didn't sound like Mr Knightley, let alone any educated English gentleman in his 30s. No mention of Whigs, or Tories, or William Pitt, or even Napoleon...nothing specific. It's not his opinion, but the childish way in which it's expressed that bugs me. Maybe I'm just being picky. ;) But I do think a quick internet search on the author's part would have worked wonders.

Melody said...

Ah, I see. Well, my advise to you is: try Knightley's Diaray again, and stick with it - I liked the last half much better than the first. Probably for different reason than you, since I do not likek political stuff anyways and would be sorry to see too much of that in the book; I actually got a little bored with all the parish stuff. But the reason I kept reading might be because I'd poked through it ahead of time, before I decided to read it all, and I liked a lot of parts in the second half. =) Just my opinion, anyhow.

Marian said...

I'd be willing to give it another try. :) Or maybe Capt. Wentworth's--have you read that one?

Melody said...

Aaahhh! I made so many mistakes in my last comment! I'm always in a hurry whenever I'm on the computer...:-/

Anyways, no, I haven't. I'm reading Persuasion right now, and I'm planning on reading Capt. Wentworth's after I'm done. I've poked through Col. Brandon's, which starts when he's 18, and the very end of Edmund Bertram's. (I wanted to see how the author did the end...it was all so hurried in Mansfield Park.)

Stephanie Ann said...

Interesting! I had never heard of these books but it looks like a fun way to enjoy classics. I'll have to look for them. I was actually somewhat disappointed that the weddings weren't in the book.

Kathryn Ross said...

Good Day to you, Milady! What a wonderful job you've done here - I shall thoroughly enjoy your ruminations on all things Jane. Do visit me over at The Writer's Reverie and perhaps you'll see me in my Regency attire sipping tea. Sometime back in the March or April archive, I think.
Joy!
Miss Kathy

Mrs.Rabe said...

I have enjoyed all the diaries by Amanda Granger. They are interesting - not Austen of course, but enjoyable and there is not inappropriate scenes.

It was a fun read!

Just my 2 cents!
Deanna

Melody said...

Stephanie Ann,
Well, although the weddings arent' exactly described in Jane Austen's novels, they are mentioned.

Kathryn Rose,
Very glad to have you following my blog!

Deanna,
Yes, it was a fun read! And I am also glad there is nothing inappropriate, as it is with many Jane Austen spin-offs and re-tellings written these days.
Thanks for your 2 cents! haha

Melody said...

* I mean Kathryn Ross.

Charity U said...

Never mind about reading it soon...it's the (only?) one that the library doesn't have. :P But I just finished Edmund Bertram's Diary, so a review of that is coming! I think I'll do Colonel Brandon's next...oughta be interesting. I so want to read this! Maybe I'll request it...

Melody said...

What? Good gracious, how silly of them! To have Edmund's and *not* Mr. Darcy's? It's madness!

haha. Perhaps you should request it. :)

~*Emma*~ said...

Read that book and had the same exact feelings as you! I read it all in 5 days. I was sad when it came to an end...

Miss Margaret Dashwood said...

Hello!! My name is Bethany, you're welcome to look at my blog if you like. I enjoyed reading this post. At the beginning of the last chapter of Pride and Prejudice it says,"Happy for allher maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters." So I think we can safely assume that it was a double wedding.

Miss Dashwood said...

I was just about to hop on here and say the thing about the double wedding, but Bethany got to it before I did. Heehee. Anyways, I really do want to read this someday... hopefully my library system will pick it up eventually. :D

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