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It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a potentially brilliant/interesting/funny idea, poorly executed, was probably done as an Emerson College senior project.

At least that is an inside joke that my sister, an Emerson alum, and I have had for years.  I was not surprised to hear that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was written by an Emerson alum.  Nor was I surprised that it is so popular.  The idea is positively hilarious.

I’m no Austen purist, as shown by my benign tolerance of other P&P “spin offs.” I think Ms. Austen had enough imagination to appreciate this humorous use of her work, and she had the kind of sensibility that would make her likely to enjoy a good zombie story.  Unfortunately I don’t think she would want to be given credit for this book (she’s listed as a coauthor) because it really isn’t a good zombie story.

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Cover ImageI’ve already mentioned that I’m a huge Jane Austen fan so it’s no surprise that I would pick up a book with the subtitle Pride and Prejudice Continues (there are dozens of them, but, dismissing the old adage, I picked this one because of its cover art).  Not all characters are interesting enough to follow after their story has ended but Elizabeth and Darcy are certainly two that are.  One can imagine a future relationship of adventure, love and shared wit.  Something interesting was happening there, which surely would continue.  But what exactly did their happily ever after include?

According to the author – lots and lots of sex. 

One of the characters in this book, (and I’m getting the feeling  she will add to the intrigue later in the story) is Juliette Clisson, daughter of a French Viscountess.  She is the unofficial mistress and well paid escort of Mr. Darcy for many years before he weds.  She is rich, beautiful and decidedly high class despite her profession.

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife (and yes, I can only imagine the title is meant to be ironic, because it seems like all he does is take her – in the bath, in the carriage, on the grounds of Pemberly) is similar to Ms. Clisson in many ways, but mostly because they are both high brow smut.   Don’t get me wrong, this book does not aim to hide the nature of its story, in fact it’s likely the book’s main selling point.  Alas, however, I expected a story in there somewhere.

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P&PI’ve never been one for “studying” literature.  Dissecting plot lines, themes and social context doesn’t really inspire me.  That is the main reason why I never pursued a degree in English Literature, despite my passion for reading it. I didn’t want to make it work.

My senior year in high school AP English is a perfect illustration.  We studied a lot of works that year (1984, Canterbury Tales, and Macbeth to name a few).  The total number of pages I read can be calculated easily – zero.  How did I pass?  My class was filled with the smartest of the smart kids that year (one major exception being my friend Christine who, I suspect for communist reasons, opted out of AP for regular English class *gasp*) and all I had to do was let them start the discussion and take their talking points a bit further down the road. 

I’ve never been haunted by the ghosts of AP English past, and I’ve never taken the time to read the books I should have read ten years ago.  In fact, I always felt as if I had already read Pride and Prejudice.  It’s such a famous book that it’s wormed its way, Jungian style, into the literary and popular culture (see it referenced in the movie You’ve Got Mail).  Between the BBC version, the new Keira Knightly movie and the pervasive Bridget Jones I’m sure everyone feels it would be a bother to actually open the pages.  We already know the story. 

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