Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: Prom and Prejudice

Prom and Prejudice
Elizabeth Eulberg
288 pages
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.

My Thoughts:
The awesomeness of this novel definitely started from the first sentence.  Any fan of Jane Austen will get this incredible start to the novel - as it is a very similar, very clever version of the first sentence of Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.
The wonderfulness of this novel just continued from there.  I LOVED this book!  Be prepared for some major gushing because it's going to come full force.  I read the entire book in one setting, and I have to say that right now it's my favorite book of the year.

For those of you who know me personally, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time.  I've read it three times.  My sister and I have watched the original (6 hour) BBC version of Pride and Prejudice at least three times, I think four actually.  My dog's name is Bennett (who is currently kicking me out of my spot on the couch because he found something interesting to dig at) from my favorite character Miss Elizabeth Bennet.  Believe me, the impact of Jane Austen and her characters from Pride and Prejudice don't stop there in my life.  They are neverending.

That being said, I was a bit wary, though excited about reading Prom and Prejudice.  The story looked cute, but really, who could measure up to the incredibly awesomeness of Jane Austen?  Oh, believe me, my worries were completely unfounded.  Ms. Eulberg took an incredible love story, transported it to modern times and even added a bit of originality to it.

The book is written in first person from Lizzie's standpoint.  And though I loved Elizabeth Bennett from Austen, I loved getting to know this version of Lizzie.  She was funny and down-to-earth, stubborn and prejudice against the rich.  She had flaws that could be seen by everyone except her.  She was lovable, and I greatly enjoyed watching her grow as she learns from her mistakes and finds new surprises.  It was wonderful reading such a great modern representation of Austen's character.

Will Darcy - yes, Darcy in Ms. Austen's book is very swoon worthy (Colin Firth, anyone?).  But because Eulberg chose the setting of a modern ivy prep school, we get to know Will Darcy more as he is able to "befriend" Lizzie and be more present in this setting.  I was in love with him almost immediately, and I sighed and squealed almost every time he entered the scene.  I always wanted more of Elizabeth-Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and Eulberg delivers.  I don't want to say more in case of my tendency for spoilers, but it was such a well written love story.

In my opinion, one of the best traits of Ms. Eulberg's novel is the setting of Longbourn Academy.  I read in an interview that she needed a setting that included class differences, thus became the ivy-exclusive prep school of Longbourn Academy, an all-girls boarding school where father's salaries, trust funds, and designer clothing are the most important things.  Longbourn, an academy that focuses on the arts, also had a huge focus on Prom, which was the social event of the year.  At first, I thought... prom?  That could be kind of dumb.  But, Eulberg wrote the setting wonderfully, and by the second chapter I was enthralled.  Having went to a prep high school where CEO's daughters of major companies went and where movies have been made about other alumni, Eulberg did an excellent job of creating Longbourn Acadmey to be a character of its own.  It often reminded me of my high school on steroids (because though I was definitely acquainted with the power of the wealthy, I got to go home at the end of the day and live in the real world).  The amount of wealth and snobbery was excellent, and I could picture the school vividly.  The setting was perfect.

My final gushing point is Eulberg's ability to rewrite a classic and yet add a new, fresh twist.  She took a timeless class love story and gave it enough small differences that it was original and yet still classic.  Though I've read Pride and Prejudice multiple times, I still laughed and found myself squealing at the fresh, new points in the story.  She adds layers to the story that make me want to use a phrase I once heard from foreign peddlars, "It's same same, but different."  And it was.  It was the same basic story, same basic characters.  But it was different.  Different and fresh setting.  Small different changes that added to my views of the characters.  Though Austen did not write a modern story or add different plot layers that Eulberg did, I found myself saying, "That's exactly like something Elizabeth would do."   Or laughing at Caroline Bingley because her characterization is completely consistent (and hilarious) with what Austen wrote.  It was same, same but different in a wonderfully perfect way.

Honestly, I loved Prom and Prejudice.  I already find myself wanting to read it again, so that I can savor the wonderful writing and ingeniousness of Elizabeth Eulberg.  I can't find anything negative to say about it, because I found it like Mary Poppins, "perfect in every way."  I would recommend it to any fan of Austen.  Frankly, I would recommend it to any female that enjoys a chick flick,  because it's like the wonderful parts of You've Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, and Pretty Women all wrapped up into one awesome read.  It will make you smile, laugh, sigh, and maybe even squeal a little bit at the wonderful love story of Lizzie Bennet and Will Darcy and their friends at Longbourn Academy.  If you have any money at all, go buy it.  It will be one that you will want an on-hand copy for every time that a stupid boy dumps you and you need a good, sweet, cute love story to eat ice cream with.  I know I for sure will be wearing out my copy of the book.
More of Prom and Prejudice and Elizabeth Eulberg:
Ok so once again, I probably went overboard with the links.  I am trying to amp up my reviews a tad, so that if you like or don't like what I have to say, you have other outlets to research the book.  Anyway, I could have had probably a hundred links on this book.  Seriously, I found so many different reviews!  But, I linked to a few bloggers that I myself stalk trust.  Also, Novel Novice featured Prom and Prejudice last month as their book of the month, so they have several incredible posts about the book.  I linked to the interviews, and then I gave you the basic site with all the other links for those who are obsessed like me.  Hope you enjoy!
Goodreads: Prom and Prejudice
Goodreads: Elizabeth Eulberg
Review: The Neverending Bookshelf
Review: Candace's Book Blog 
Review: The Story Siren
Interview: Novel Novice Part I
Interview: Novel Novice Part II
Interview: Novel Novice Part III
Book of the Month feature: Novel Novice

No comments:

Post a Comment