A Review of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

Goodreads Rating: 4.00 Stars
380 pages
Touchstone Publishing
Get it here!

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie’s life as a 24-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters – beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets – and for Lizzie’s viewers. Suddenly Lizzie – who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman – was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie’s special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie’s thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series’ executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new listeners alike.The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it’s never been done before.

– – – – –

4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice; based on youtube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; such a great supplementary read to the web-series, filling in otherwise “skipped over” details/gaps; humorous, quirky narrator; awesome, deeper look at the characters and their motivations

Okay, guys—I’m sure you ALL know how much I live and breathe Pride and Prejudice, so I won’t waste time harping on it yet again. You should know, however, that I am also OBSESSED with the web-series this book is based on, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Seriously, if you love Jane Austen’s classic and are looking for an awesome modern-day retelling of the tale, you need to go to youtube right now and check this one out—it’s amazeballs. I’ve watched it like three times all the way through, and am currently on my fourth rewatch. I have a problem, yes…but it’s a problem I don’t mind owning up to.

“Two parts of me have been at war. Your… odd family, your financial troubles- your in a different world from me. people expect me to travel in certain circles. And I do respect the wishes of my family, but not today. I’ve tried to fight it for months now, but Lizzie Bennet… I’m in love with you.”

There is something realistic and wholly human about this read that helps to tie together the book and the web-series in a way I didn’t get watching the series alone. I think a BIG part of this is the fact that this “diary” pulls in all the little moments we don’t see or aren’t granted access to on the series—little details that are mentioned in passing, but never fully doled out. If you’ve watched the series, and found yourself perplexed or confused by certain things…definitely pick this read up. It just… It ties everything together in a neat, clean package—and will satisfy your inner “need-to-know.”

While still remaining solely Lizzie’s POV, this book pulls in all the things we aren’t shown—which means that despite it still being Lizzie’s diary, there is less “on the fly” drama and more “telling it like it really was.” There’s no costume theater in this book; things aren’t sugar-coated or avoided, but instead faced head-on. Even little things that are mentioned and forgotten about on the series are pulled into this read in a more convincing, awesome way—and shed light on the story more deeply.

She fished inside and brought out two movie choices. “This evening’s distraction. Do you want to watch pretty people fall in love or things blowing up?”

I eyed them both. “Do you have anything with pretty people blowing up?”

There are some weird grammatical and spelling things that caught my attention at the beginning of this read, and managed to make me stop to back-track and figure them out. Things like…switching randomly from “past” to “present” tense in the middle of the same sentence, or mixing up “thing” with “this”–I was a bit frustrated with it at first, to be honest, as it seemed to be happening every few pages. BUT! Push through it; around page 100, these become much less obvious and the entries flow much more smoothly. I promise, after that, I didn’t have any trouble “losing” myself in the read.

The characters also seem much more human and realistic. Where on the web-series, we’re given truncated and (at times) comical versions of them…this diary helps to make them vivid, and real. Even characters we don’t see outside Lizzie’s “costume theater” (such as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, or Catherine de Bourgh) make appearances in this book, and are made to be much more relatable and redeemable than the web-series sometimes makes them. Mrs. Bennet, especially, I found to be much less “silly” than she’s portrayed—which helped to drive home the fact that she IS human, and therefore not perfect. Nobody is without their flaws, after all.

“Do you want this job?”

“No!” I sniffled. “It would be terrible. But if you need me to—”

“Then don’t you dare.” His words came out fierce—fiercer than I’ve ever heard in my entire life. “Your mother’s and my financial problems are our own. You don’t get to carry that burden. You’ll have your own as soon as your student loans come due, so don’t worry about us.”

“But—”

“You have dreams, Lizzie.” He laid a hand on my shoulder. “Goals. Now is the time in your life to pursue them. Don’t put them on hold. Because if you do, pretty soon you’ll be middle-aged with three children, working a job simply to pay the bills. And you’ll have forgotten what those dreams were.”

I feel safe saying THIS is my new favorite modern-day retelling of the classic I adore. I can’t WAIT to pick up the companion novel, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, in the near-future…and getting the chance to see even deeper into that character’s motivations and life. I recommend the read to all Pride and Prejudice lovers…and anyone who’s watchedThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries and discovered a desire for more from those characters. This was a fun, enlightening read—I was definitely not disappointed!

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2 thoughts on “A Review of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post (#6) – betwixt-the-pages

  2. Pingback: Loved and Loathed (February 2016) – betwixt-the-pages

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