PRIDE AND PREJUDICE * * * * *
This might easily be called my all-time favorite book. When my mothr first suggested I read it, I thought it the dumbest thing I'd ever read. Only a few chapters into it, I actually threw it across the room and vowed never to touch it again. I was a freshman in high school at the time.
Later, after I married, I checked it out of a library to give it another chance. I loved it. No, the book hadn't changed, but I had. I re-read it a few years later, and soon formed the habit of reading it once a year.
I have no idea how many times it's been, but "Pride and Prejudice" stays just as interesting, or more so, as I read it for my annual treat. I suspect it’s well over fifty times by now. I wish I’d kept track.
The plot doesn’t change, nor the words, but they’re every bit as charming. Elizabeth is still enchanting, but prejudiced, Darcy proud and unbending. They're the only ones who actually change. Jane is always beautiful and quietly optimistic, Bingly outgoing and cheerful, and, of course, Mrs. Bennett and her three youngest daughters are as silly as ever. Mr. Bennett still teases and takes the easy way out. Lady Catherine as well as Mr. Collins remain almost insufferable, despite his marriage to the very practical Charlotte. The Gardiners are always exemplary. Lydia remains untamed and Wickham unprincipled.
The last few pages of tying up all the loose ends felt more like an anticlimax this year, but satisfying. The beautiful part is realizing how Jane Austen seems to love all her characters—good points, faults, and all--so I love them, too. And another thing keeps bringing me back; her irony is priceless.