Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

“When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in yourself than there was before.” -Clifton Fadiman

I hope Mr. Fadiman will make an exception in this case, because I would hate to think what seeing zombies in Pride and Prejudice might mean for my character.

I have struggled a bit with what to say about this book. I did enjoy it, to a certain extent. I laughed on almost every page in the first half. The idea that zombies are plaguing England is undeniably funny. And the fact that the Bennet sisters have traded being accomplished for being excellent slayers of the undead made me giggle about as much as you would expect. All of them, even Lydia, fight the zombies with great skill and precision. But it did drag in the second half, even with the zombies and Lady Catherine’s ninjas (ninjas and zombies!) and the fact that Charlotte got married because she had been bitten and she was desperate to get married before she died and the idea that Mr. Darcy objected to Jane in part because he thought her severe cold signaled that she was afflicted with the plague of the undead. I laughed and it was amusing, but I had had enough.

I don’t quite agree with Cheryl Klein’s review, because I didn’t necessarily object to the changes. If you are going to add zombies, you probably need to make some changes, and I can understand if those changes include things like vomit and pus and the like. But I do agree with her about it growing a bit tedious at the end. Although my reasons are different, I can’t say that I give it a wholehearted recommendation, despite the fact that I did laugh quite a lot. And stop to read something to Mike on nearly every page whenever I was around him. It just needed some editing, because, really, by the halfway point, I had gotten the general idea, and it either needed to be shorter or it needed more zombie twists to shake the story up a bit to keep my attention. (This could possibly be because I know the story too well.) What I am most curious about is what someone new to Pride and Prejudice (a middle or high school student, for example) might think of it.

I think it boils down to this: If you think you will enjoy a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, my guess is that you will probably get enough enjoyment out of it to make it worth reading. If nothing else, flip through it and check out how some of the more famous passages have been altered to include zombie references. It will give you a good laugh. For my own part, I am happy I read it, and would not hesitate to read another in a similar vein. Cheryl Klein had some ideas:

And if someone would like to hire me to turn Sense and Sensibility into a vampire novel (with Willoughby and Lucy Steele as the undead who bleed the sisters Dashwood dry), or Emma into a werewolf book (with Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax as a secretly mated pair) — like Mr. Bennet after his daughters are engaged, “I am quite at leisure.”

I like her Emma, and I think Persuasion could be a good choice for a vampire book. Anne Elliot is older and unmarried because she is the slayer? She turned Captain Wentworth down because Lady Russell persuaded her that marrying a vampire could never make her happy? Something to ponder.

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