I’ve always been an avid reader. I read my first classic novel (Little Women) in the fourth grade and haven’t stopped since. Having just finished the worst book that I have ever read in my entire life (hello there, Fifty Shades of Grey), I felt the need to write about a book that wasn’t started as Twilight fan fiction… my favorite novel of all time – Pride and Prejudice.
The Movie Before the Book?!
My sophomore year in high school I took choir. By far one of my favorite classes, with one of the best teachers, choir proved to be more beneficial than just musical knowledge. Mrs. Kartwright was a sassy ginger who danced around the choir room cracking jokes and inspiring us to learn, love, and live.
During midterm testing, we would be stuck for several days without a proper teacher (as she was in a small room for the voice testing). Mrs. Kartwright gave us the time to watch a movie. Oftentimes, the movie would be musically related–Second semester we watched Oklahoma, because one of our performance songs came from the musical. The first semester midterms, Mrs. K introduced us to Pride and Prejudice… you could say she was a little obsessed with the movie. I couldn’t help it; I agreed. I fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy as fast as Jane fell in love with Bingley.
But the Book was Good too!
After more than a week of watching the greatest love story of all time unfold (the 1995 BBC version), this wonderfully long movie-six 55 minute episodes-led me to want to read the book. Best. Book. Ever. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time that spring, and it was everything I wanted it to be. Quickly, it became my all time favorite book. I read it again the summer before junior year during the week I was at cheer-leading camp, and once again the summer before college. I’ve read it at least 2 other times, and will likely read it again one day.
Elizabeth Bennet Reincarnated
During the spring of junior year, my best friend, Kat and I went to go see this random movie that she was talking about. I didn’t really know what it would be about or whether I would like it, but I thought I would go see it anyway. While watching it, I started to see striking similarities to Pride and Prejudice. The name of the publishing house was Pemberley Press. Mark Darcy was played by Mr. Darcy, himself, Colin Firth. The plot modeled that of P & P, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Bridget Jones’ Diary turned out to become one of my favorite movies.
Wait, This is was a Book Too?!
Yep, as it turns out, Helen Fielding, with her respect for Pride and Prejudice, wrote a fun novel using a similar story arc. This is what I call high quality fan fiction. Loving the movie, I knew that I had to read the book, where I found even more similarities between Bridget Jones’ Diary and Pride and Prejudice and quickly realized that it literally was a remake of my favorite novel.
Bridget was a character that I heavily identified with–no pun intended. She was not-quite-thin, clumsy, and always spoke before she thought. My hero. And she still got the guy. My best friend Penny and I would spend hungover Saturday afternoons watching Bridge and Mark fall in love. We even named our schefflera plants after Bridget and Shazzer.
Back to Pride & Prejudice
I purchased the BBC movie on DVD for myself so that I could watch the love affair of Elizabeth Bennet and Mister Darcy as often as I wanted to with shorter versions of my own making. My personal favorite version was the Darcy version in which I skipped past any scenes that did not include my beloved Colin Firth.
If you have not read Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend that you do so. Of course, you can always start easy by reading Bridget Jones’ Diary, but it won’t be nearly as awesome if you haven’t started the journey with the original.