Saturday, 31 August 2013
Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Released: January 1st, 2011
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?
I'm possibly one of the only people in the world (okay, maybe a *slight* exaggeration) who hasn't read Pride and Prejudice. As I've mentioned before, I own a copy and I have tried to read it, but I can't get into it. I've seen the Keira Knightley film and I like what I remember of the story, I just have trouble with the way it's written. I'm the same with all classics, which is a shame as I'm sure I'd enjoy at least some of them. For that reason, I think Prom and Prejudice was a little lost on me. I got who the main characters were and why they acted the way they did, but a lot of the subtle nods to the original book went way over my head. I couldn't recall who Charlotte or Wickham were so I suppose it was good in that respect, as I was somewhat surprised by what happened towards the end.
As a light, fun YA romantic comedy, Prom and Prejudice works well. It has all the key ingredients, including social differences (presented here as scholarship students versus privileged students), a reluctant romance and tons of relationship drama. The plot was realistic for the most part, though I couldn't quite buy into the importance resting on the prom. Longbourn Academy, at least in my mind, didn't seem like the kind of school to trouble itself with dances and dresses, and I was pretty surprised by the emphasis on the prom. Proms aren't a huge thing here in England, so maybe that had something to do with it. Heck, I didn't even go to my high school prom - I couldn't have cared less. Perhaps that says more about me than the event of prom itself. ;)
Another aspect of Prom and Prejudice that bothered me was how the characters spoke. I don't think any modern teenager would talk how Will or Charles did, not even if they were the most stuck-up posh people at boarding school. It was almost as if Eulberg was writing the male characters in Austen style, while the girls were contemporary. I'm guessing it was so Darcy and Co. would come across as charming and chivalrous, which they did, but in a clunky way. If a boy spoke to me in such a proper fashion, I'd probably laugh and leg it as fast as possible. A bit of slang among teens is a good thing!
I think if I'd previously read Pride and Prejudice at least once, then Prom and Prejudice would have sat a lot better with me. As it was, I don't think I fully appreciated what Eulberg was trying to do, and that's all down to my ignorance of Austen's original story. I picked it up wanting a quick, lighthearted read, and that's what I got. I might revisit it one day when I'm better versed in all things Austen, as I think I'd benefit from knowing the parallels between each book.