Classic

still searching for my mr darcy: reading pride and prejudice

Although the photo this week is Curiosity, it is still The Cat manning the ship. Due to extenuating circumstances (namely helping my mum with her veggie garden and seeing Sammy J and Randy live) I was unable to get in front or behind a camera this week.

My copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a ratty looking book with a vibrant green cover and a garish pink spine. It is easily one of the most hideous books on my bookshelf and a bit of an eyesore. But this is one of my most dearly beloved books and one I will never part with.

This is the first book I bought for myself in a different country and has ended up being more well-travelled than some members of my family. A resident on three different bookshelves in three different Australian states, as well as being a trusty handbag companion through San Diego, San Francisco and a short stint in Las Angeles, my copy of P & P has seen me through all sorts of life stages and emotions.

Some girls have travelling pants, others have diaries, and I have this book. Taped together and dog-eared, I am surprised this faithful classic is still holding together.

So, after finishing another session of uni, I got a little nostalgic and flicked through the pages again. As always, I fell madly in love with the book, the emotions, and of course, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

Elizabeth Bennet was my second fictional female role model (the first being Hermione Granger). She is strong, intellectual and feisty, not to mention, brave, passionate and just downright amazing. She passionately defends her beliefs, protects and cares for her friends and doesn’t succumb to the gender and social norms of the period.

Every time I read this book and look at the women in my life, I am always proud and thankful to have such strong female influences in my life, from my sweet Jane Bennet-like sister to my loyal Charlotte Lucas Collins best friend. The book explores a variety of female characters, each one having value despite their less than favourable qualities. Best of all, because of this, they are realistic. 

Similarly, Mr Darcy isn’t your dashing, blonde Prince Charming, but a brooding, moody and mysterious creature. I was not impressed with Darcy for the majority of the novel, my allegiance firmly placed with Elizabeth.

However, just like Elizabeth, after a few frustrated exclamations and irritated outbursts, I found myself charismatically swayed to a little fondness. He is represented as human and like everyone else, makes mistakes, evident in his judgement and under-estimation of Elizabeth Bennet, an error he pays for.

There is a reason Jane Austen is revered in the literary community and Pride and Prejudice is a classic. This book and these characters were game changers in my life and easily influenced the beliefs and passions I have today. I can’t imagine ever dating anyone who I couldn’t have an intellectual conversation with, and I think this book is one of the reasons why.

From the girl who is still searching for her own Mr Darcy,

The Cat

 

getting a little foxy: reading fantastic mr fox

With yesterday being National Bookshop Day and the arrival of my wonderful new cousin a few weekends ago, this week I got a little nostalgic. I went through my bookshelf, making a mental list of all the fantastic books my new cousin will one day read.

When my eye fell on Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, I knew I had to read it again. My copy is only eighty-one pages long and in fairly large print (meaning, like a rebel, I didn’t even get up to get my glasses!). Just like every other time, I read the book in one sitting, flying through the crazy antics of these wild animals. And like every other time, I loved every word.

I think it is a real toast to Roald Dahl that his books are still loved and read, and that as a twenty-one year old literature student, I still pore over the words he wrote. There is something in the characters and the simple but exciting plot that means the book can be read and re-read and still be enjoyed each time.

This is my first review on an illustrated book and I can’t leave them unmentioned. I can’t imagine a Roald Dahl book without the simple but intricate illustrations of Quentin Blake. I have always adored these illustrations and went through a phase where all my school books and notepads were covered in poor attempts at imitating this style when drawing my teachers. There is definitely more skill in detailing the over-extended nose or drooping ear lobes of a person than I had first anticipated. Kudos to Quentin Blake. 

This book is something that can be read by anyone. The words aren’t long and the illustrations are fun and exciting, meaning it is great for the intended child audience, but the great writing and wonderful characters mean adults can still enjoy the book too.

I am seriously looking forward to adding this book to ever-growing pile that I am hoping to one day read to my lovely cousin.

From the reader who knows the real answer to the question ‘What does the fox say?’,

The Cat