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Pride and Prejudice (audio): 11/06/11
Jane Austen wasn't taught at my high school and I didn't take any English lit classes in college. I was in my mid twenties and the Jane Austen phenomena was gaining momentum. Since then I've been trying and failing to read any Austen book start to finish. That is until this year when I discovered the perfect way to read her books: audio in the car.
Pride and Prejudice is now the best known and most popular of Austen's books. When I was a teen, it was Sense and Sensibility (thanks to Clueless). P&P's current popularity is due in large part to the film adaptation Collin Firth was in.
The Bennett family is in a bit of a pickle. Mr. Bennett's financial affairs (and the house) are in the red. If he dies, the house goes to his creditor and Mrs. Bennett and their five daughters are out on the street. The only thing to do — marry off the daughters.
Jane is the oldest and most beautiful. Tradition states she should be married first to pave the way for her sisters. But there's a snag in the form of Mr. Darcy who makes an ass of himself at the first dance and thoroughly pisses of the second daughter, Elizabeth. She pegs him for being prideful but is blind to her own prejudice.
Like a modern day soap opera, the novel contrives to put Darcy and Elizabeth together in as many frustrating and embarrassing ways as possible. Eventually though the reasons behind Darcy's behavior comes out and Elizabeth softens.
Listening to the audio gave me a better appreciation for the novel. I can see why it's popular. I had a few problems with the production of the audio. The woman reading the book gave Mrs. Bennett a harpy voice. It literally set my teeth on edge.