Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick and read by Ashley Clements

Summary on Goodreads:
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 24-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, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new listeners 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.
I am a huge fan of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I first became a fan after being lucky enough to walk past a panel at Leaky Con (with the actors) talking about it. I got interested of course. And over the span of the conference, was heavily persuaded to watch the show by various fans. It sounded fabulous. I soon became hooked. I literally marked my calendar for the days I could catch a new video. I screeched for joy the first time Darcy came on film. I got so angry for Lydia and all she went through. And I cried when the last video aired because I knew nothing else would be this good.
It took me a long time to get to this book. I tried the regular book version a while back, but it was too much like the videos that I decided I needed a little space between the videos ending and my reading of the book. I’m glad I postponed my reading because I definitely feel like I appreciated it more this way. Plus, the audio version was so cool. I got to hear the actress who played Lizzie do the reading. How cool is that?
I’m also a huge Jane Austen fan. And all Jane Austen fans love Pride and Prejudice. It’s like a rule. Seriously though, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice probably almost as many times as I’ve read Harry Potter. I love it.
That being said, I’m not always a huge fan of modern adaptations of Austen. They are usually hit or miss for me. This adaptation was like nothing I’d seen before. It truly is Jane Austen of the 21st century. It’s Pride and Prejudice 2.0, where not only is YouTube the platform, but commentary is encouraged by the fans. Add that to the fact that I super related to being a grad student with student loans. And I was so living at home still when I first watched these videos.
This audiobook just brought back all my love. It reminded me how special The Lizzie Bennet Diaries really is. And I loved getting further insight into the head of Lizzie. There was so much more in this format than I remember getting in the videos. For starters, there was something that happened with Jane that I don’t remember being in the videos at all. There are things that happened in Lizzie’s world that she didn’t feel comfortable posting for the world to see in video format.
And the whole issue of what is appropriate to post about oneself online is brought up in a way I’ve never seen before. I loved getting a more critical eye on the research and work Lizzie was doing in regards to multi-media platforms. I loved learning about her tour of San Francisco. I love Darcy. There was just so much more in this format that I don’t remember getting before. Granted, it has been years since I’ve watched the videos and my brain might be a little fuzzy. But, I guess that was my intention. I wanted to read it with fresh eyes, and I’m so glad I did.
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an audiobook more quickly. I couldn’t leave my car. I had to keep listening. The narrator, while the actual star of the videos, is a great reader too. She should seriously do more audio books. I’d listen to them all. I highly recommend this to fans of the videos and to Jane Austen fans period. And if you haven’t seen the videos, what are you waiting for? I give this a 9/10.

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