Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
By Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Published October 1st 2009 by Quirk Books
I tried to resist this book, but when the movie was on TV last fall, I recorded it. Then when my readers group decided to do Books into Films as a topic, I checked out the library e-book and read it. I have to say, I found the book to be kind of weird, mostly Jane Austen but with the zombie stuff and martial arts thrown in. I didn’t think the author did a good job of really making the zombies seem an integral part of the story, but I did kind of like the idea of Lizzy and her sisters as kick-ass martial artists and zombie killers. The class distinctions were played up by the aristocrats, like Darcy and Lady Catherine de Burgh, preferring Japanese martial arts, and looking down on the Bennett girls, who were trained by “Chinese peasants”.
In the final analysis, I enjoyed reading P&P again, and I chuckled at many of Grahame-Smith’s insertions.It’s pretty hard to improve upon Jane Austen. Impossible really.
A friend who is in graduate school told me that zombies, which are so popular nowadays, are “a metaphor for modernization or modernity, at least that is the way literary scholars are interpreting the book, where life increasing eats people up and turns them into walking dead…”
I have to say, I really didn’t get that from the book, and honestly, I don’t think that was Grahame-Smith’s reason for writing the book. I think he was looking for a high concept read that would sell lots of books and land him a movie deal, which is what happened. But color me cynical.
After reading the book, I watched the film. The movie script, which actually changed Jane Austen’s plot, made more sense to me as a zombie movie. They really upped the stakes and made the zombie threat seem credible and menacing. I liked the actress who played Elizabeth, but I wasn’t as crazy about the actor who played Darcy. But then, I hold Colin Firth up as the model for the perfect Darcy, so that’s a high standard to meet. 😉
It’s very unusual of me to say a movie was better than the book it was based on, but this is one of those exceptions.
I’d love to know what others thought of the book and/or movie, so leave a comment. And click on the graphic below for more great reviews in Barrie Summy’s Book Review Club.
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I understand what you are saying! I’m not into such, myself!!!
I think I revere JA too much to read this. Maybe a lesser writer would work for me.
That was my hesitation, too, Patti.
I have always been on the fence on whether or not to read this. I’m intrigued by your description of aristocratic versus peasant martial arts though.
Stacy, it wasn’t as hard to read as I’d feared, in fact, I quite enjoyed reading the book, but that’s because most of Jane Austen’s words remained.
I’ve resisted this book because I loved Jane Austen’s book so much but it has gotten a lot of press (and I saw the movie was on cable as well – but I didn’t record it). I will say this, I tend to like whichever I experienced first best meaning, if I read the book first that would be my preference or the movie best if I saw it before I read the book (which rarely happens as I tend to read the book before I’ll watch the movie). That’s not always the case, but more often than not, it is.
Thanks for the review.
Lucy, much of the book is the original Jane Austen novel, and it was fun to re-read it, even with the zombie and martial arts thrown in. In this case, I read the book first and then watched the movie. The order doesn’t seem to affect my opinion of either book or movie. In most cases, I prefer the book, but there are a few exceptions. This is one of them.
I’ve wondered how the tweak to P&P would have worked and appreciate knowing your opinion. Since I’m not into anything related to zombies, I think both are experiences I’ll pass on.
I don’t get the whole zombie thing either.
Thanks for reading/watching so I don’t waste my time! I have zero interest in zombies. I imagine the book was written so that it could become a movie.
That’s what I think, too, Sarah. Money, money, money!
Seems like a weird combination. They say where I live on a floating cabin is zombie proof since they won’t cross water. That may be true, but it isn’t bear proof, a much more realistic danger, even though one has never visited us in the seventeen years we’ve lived there. – Margy
It is a weird combination, Margy, and I’m far more afraid of bears than zombies! Glad none have visited your floating cabin.
I wonder what it would be like to write a book like that…take a classic and insert zombies. Might be fun. 🙂 I hear you. I generally enjoy the book better than the movie, but there have been exceptions. Thank you for reviewing!
I have to admit it was an original idea to add the zombies, and I can see where it would be fun. Also easy, since you wouldn’t have to write an entire book, just revise one that’s already in the public domain! Ivanhoe and Demons, maybe. Or a Golem coming to the aid of Isaac of York and Rebecca. 😉
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