Title: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Author: Bernie Su & Kate Rorick
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Genre: Contemporary, Retellings, Vlogs to Books
Format Read: Paperback, 400 pages
Publication Date: 1st July 2014 by Simon & Schuster Australia
Synopsis: “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 twenty-four-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 and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers 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.” (Taken from The Lizzie Bennet Book)
I was very excited to review this book for Joy because I LOVED the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) Vlog on YouTube and I was eagerly anticipating the release of this next chapter in the LBD universe, and it did not disappoint!
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Written in diary format and as an extension of the video blogs on YouTube, the book follows 24-year old grad-student Lizzie Bennet as she battles life with a pedantic and marriage obsessed mother, crushing student loans and the sudden popularity of her year-long video diary for her mass communications degree. With the help of her two sisters – perfect Jane and wild Lydia, and her tech-savvy best friend Charlotte – Lizzie explores new corners of the Internet as she uncovers the benefits and consequences of baring your life (and the lives of those around you) to the world. Enter newcomers from out of town, the snobbish Mr Darcy and handsome Bing Lee and the world Lizzie has come to know is irrevocably turned upside down.
This book was everything I’d hoped for and more. I loved the way the authors took the narrative from the YouTube videos and interweaved new information or expanded on things only briefly mentioned in the videos, which added depth and realism to the characters – especially Darcy and Mr and Mrs Bennet. It really added an extra layer to the LBD universe but also provided enough context so you could read the book without having to watch the videos first, if you hadn’t already. It did start off slow, the first couple of diary entries are a quite brief and don’t really flow as much as the rest of the novel, however they do a decent job of introducing the Bennet family and their various trials and tribulations with the novel truly gaining momentum once we’re introduced to Darcy and Bing Lee – where the real drama and intrigue begins.
One thing I would say is that while the authors did a fantastic job at adapting the video to the novel, some parts were glossed over under the assumption that the reader had watched the videos, and while there was enough information for a general sense of what happened, various parts may be underwhelming for those who have not watched the videos.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen, modern day adaptations of classics or just looking for a light and entertaining read. I would suggest giving the videos a go before reading the book; it makes reading the book more enjoyable and allows you to properly squeal and fangirl over scenes with certain characters *cough* Darcy *cough* that weren’t present or only briefly glossed over in the videos. Overall, a wonderful read that I will definitely be recommending to my friends.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing a physical copy in exchange for an honest review.
Hey guys, I’d love for you to welcome my friend Alana, who will be helping me out with reviews and such on the blog! She’s also a book lover, and was lovely enough to help me out with reviewing The Lizzie Bennet Diaries two days before she jumped on her plane to Europe! I’ve bribed her into helping me out after we both return from Europe, so look out for a feature on her sometime in August, where I can officially introduce her to you guys.
Thanks for taking the time to help me read and review, Alana! <3