I know that Pride and Prejudice is allegedly more popular with the fairer sex, but I thoroughly enjoyed my recent read-through (my second). My first introduction to the story occurred when Sara and I saw the movie at the theater (with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet).
One author writes of the novel, "[R]eaders may initially find the action somewhat slow, but if they persist they will soon be swept away by the sheer pleasure of the book" (Henrietta Ten Harmsel in Invitation to the Classics, edited by Louise Cowan and Os Guinness). I am one who has been swept away by the sheer pleasure of the book.
What makes this book so pleasurable? Right off the bat, plot and characters comes to mind. The plot isn't overly intricate. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, who spring from different social strata, do not like each other but eventually fall in love. But the plot is far more than that, and the various storylines that play into this plot are delightfully and effectively woven together to make a wonderful story.
Then there's the characters. What a delightful array of characters with their idiosyncrasies! Mr. Collins is loquacious and the ultimate brown-noser. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is arrogant and opinionated (and how I love to see Elizabeth stand up to her). Mrs. Bennet is ridiculous, and Mr. Bennet's sarcastic one-liners are sensibly delivered (usually). Jane is so trusting, and Lydia is so annoying. There's nothing bland about the cast Jane Austen has created.
More could be said. I personally find the ending satisfying as Austen quickly reviews how things turned out for the vast array of characters. And there's a felt justice in each one's case.
It's a good book. (Incidentally, I think it's a good movie, too. I have a friend who loves Austen and didn't like the movie. But I found the movie to be pretty faithful to the book.)
First line: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Last line: "Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them."
My rating (out of 5): 5