I stumbled across this book catching up on blog posts when I saw A.M.B.’s post Five Variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice on her blog The Misfortune of Knowing. We all know I love Jane, her birthday is on my calendar – seriously, and I have an entire page dedicated to her here: Austen(esque). So of course, I immediately went to put all of them on hold at my various libraries and this one was available immediately!!
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this one: Sass: check; Romance: check; Southern: check; Passages that make me giggle: check; I mean what else could you want in a Pride and Prejudice adaptation?
It’s hard to say what I enjoyed most about this, from the required rewrite of the infamous opening line,
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that all daughters eventually conclude their mothers are insane, and though I had long heard the rattle of loose nuts and screws in Lucy McKnight’s head, even for her this challenged belief.” (Loc. 89)
to the delightful decadence of the Dallas, Texas debutante scene. (If you didn’t know I attended quite a few years of junior cotillion – think etiquette school and found the debut balls to be hilarious, if nothing like anything I attended.) I saw a few of the complaints on Goodreads, but didn’t let myself get sucked in – I felt the Dyers did a great job of adapting the original with quite a few edits. Do I think this could’ve been a good story on its own without trying to stick to the P&P formula, yes, do I think it was better because they stuck to it but had to make some major modifications, yes.
I found the characters to be personable and I enjoyed reading about them. I thought the modern adaptation of the landed gentry to ranchers to be quite ingenious and the debutante scene is pretty much a direct descendant of the ball scenes of the Regency. I found the rewrite of Elizabeth Bennet, Megan McKnight, to be hilarious and very relatable. She doesn’t want to be in the debutante scene any more than Elizabeth Bennet wanted to be husband hunting. Sure ultimately it was necessary and helped provide for a better future, but there were other things they’d rather be doing to improve themselves. Just go read a few of the quotes at the end to see why I kept giggling.
One of the reviewers on Goodreads seemed to think that Jane and Lydia were combined in this book but they really weren’t, the situation with Jane is pretty clear in the original that Darcy considers Jane to have committed an indiscretion (talking too much) with another man and that checks out in this book more or less. Many people also had issues with the number of Bennets being cut down. I feel like I read this about many of the modern adaptations, but let’s face it, that MOST people don’t have more than one or two siblings at most these days, even the super-rich! So I think it makes the story a bit more authentic in that there are fewer siblings.
The last thing I’ll comment on is that I felt the Dyers handled the mother daughter reconciliation more explicitly than Austen did. In the end of P&P you get a brief glimpse of Elizabeth acknowledging the stress of having to raise and marry off five daughters and you sort of get a lightning of her treatment toward Mrs. Bennet, but in this you actually get a reconciliation. The marrying off isn’t so much important as everything else that comes with raising children in the 21st century: future employment, connections, happiness, and friendships. And I liked that.
Recommendation: If you want a quick light and fun read check this out. It’s not the best, or the worst, Austen adaptation I’ve read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Opening Line: “Down a goal in injury time Lachelle began a buildup inside midfield, passing it down to Mariah, who fed Lindsay in the right corner.”
Closing Line: “I’d been so worried that making my debut would change me, but here I was, at the end of it all, and I was still me. Only better.” (Closed Out
Additional Quotes from The Season
“I liked boys. I just had no idea how to attract them. Flirting was an absolute mystery to me. I was categorically incapable of the unspoken communication that drew boys in, piqued their curiosity, or flat out turned them on.” (Loc. 658)
“You’re made of awesome. Pretty, smart, athletic—I’m not kidding when I say it turns me on to think you probably squat more than I do.” (Loc. 1,686)
“You are twenty years old. Go to the store and buy a box of condoms—there is no shame.” (Loc. 1,727)
“It felt like she was trying to show me a way to be a smartass in society and get away with it. You had to be a ninja, not a clown in the WWE.” (Loc. 2.520)
“Her comment about not being right about everything cut to the bone too. Was that really how people saw me—as the Hermione Granger know-it-all?” (Loc. 3,078)
“Mrs. Gage, you have insulted me in every possible way. But trust me that I will not only survive, I will endure. I am a native Texan. My great-great-grandfather faced down wolves and cougars alone on the prairie, and if he can survive that, I can certainly survive an invasion from a Yankee blowhard in a wool suit. Now if you will excuse me, I have a debut to make.” (Loc. 3,582)
“I had been horrible to this man. I had insulted him, been rude to him, humiliated him in the tabloids. He’d seen me at my worst, with all my defenses down, and he still liked me. No, he said he loved me. I knew I could be myself around him, and it gave me hope.” (Loc. 3,677)