August 19, 2014 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Publisher/Year: Simon & Schuster, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling, Romance
Source: From the Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars!!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and 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. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.
Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.
What I Thought…
I desperately wanted to read this after binge-watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries vlog series on YouTube in one sitting, and it did NOT disappoint! The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a refreshing and wonderful addition to the vlog, and a fantastic read.
For those of you who may be concerned that this book is simply a re-hash of the vlog, fear not! It gives greater details of Lizzie’s life and conveys incidents and feelings in more detail than what could be portrayed in video format. It also adds plenty of extra material to make the read even more worthwhile. It is a fantastic companion to the vlog, however I would read the book after watching the vlog because you’ll probably get more out of it that way. I know, I know – I usually jump up and down about watching an adaptation before reading the book! But in this case, the book came second so it’s perfectly justifiable 🙂 In fact, if you haven’t already done so, you should read Pride and Prejudice, then watch the vlog and then read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, in that order. Off you go!
It’s no secret that Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books of all time, and as an adaptation The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is faithful to the core plot points and characters in a thoroughly modern way. It keeps all of the major storylines and personality traits of the characters, but does so in a way that makes sense in a 21st century society. Take Ricky Collins for example – he’s overbearing, supercilious and insists on being called Mr Collins, much like in Pride and Prejudice. However, while the Bennets still suffer financial troubles, he’s no longer responsible for them as the inheritor of their estate upon Mr Bennet’s death. That part of Pride and Prejudice wouldn’t have been realistic in today’s modern world and The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is all the better for realising this.
The writing in this book is spot on, it reads just like a diary – it’s personal, charming and realistic. It’s also perfectly in sync with the vlog; the planning that went into writing this must’ve been meticulous because there is not one detail out of place or inconsistent with the vlog. As for the characters, they’re just as wonderful as their original versions. There are some changes; Charles and Caroline Bingley became Bing and Caroline Lee, Mary is a cousin and Kitty is a cat… But there are also many more consistencies with it’s predecessor. Lizzie was as endearing and judgmental as always, Darcy was wonderfully awkward and proud, and Jane was just as sweet and nice. I was probably more sympathetic to this incarnation of Lydia, she seems more capable of change. As for the setting, California is no England but it works in this context.
I’ve been putting off writing this review for a while because I couldn’t work out what I wanted to say other than “read it now, this book is AWESOME!” So that’s how I’m going to finish this off – this book is an amazing adaptation but it’s also a really fantastic book all on its own merit. Give it a go, you won’t regret it!
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?