Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: July 3rd, 2014
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries may have started as a school project for Lizzie, but it grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters, beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. People watched, debated, tweeted, tumblr'd, and suddenly Lizzie was YouTube sensation. But not everything happened on-screen. Lizzie kept a secret diary. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is everything you didn't see in her videos - and more. This is Pride and Prejudice as you've never experienced it before!
Until reading this book I had never seen any of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos. I've since watched about eight of them and now understand that The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is basically just a novelisation of the YouTube series, with added extra bits you don't see on screen. It's a fun read, especially for anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice or just knows the story. The parallels are really clever and I can see why it's so popular!
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is an updated take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It features all of Austen's well-loved characters including Lizzie, Jane, Lydia, Charlotte, Bing Lee (ha!), Darcy, and of course Mr and Mrs Bennet. The storyline is mostly the same, though it has been modernised for a current audience. Written as Lizzie's diary entries for a year, it tells the story of how she starts making her video blogs and how they affect her family and friends. It's an interesting concept that works well, especially when well-known pop culture references and people are mentioned. It gives it a more realistic feel that could otherwise have been lacking.
Although I did enjoy this book, I found it to be overly long. Luckily it's easy to read, and once I got into it I did have trouble putting it down until the end. I didn't pick up on much Lizzie/Darcy chemistry which is a shame, though I think that's because they don't actually share much page time. Whereas in the original Pride and Prejudice I could see their relationship developing, I didn't see it in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. It's all a bit rushed and unbelievable that they're suddenly in love, though that is of course the story and can't be changed - the original just does it better.
For anyone who likes Jane Austen or The Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos on YouTube, this book will likely be an essential addition to the collection. It's a good read about family and the relationships that shape our lives, especially that between sisters. I'd happily read more novels set in this Pride and Prejudice world and I would like to know what happens next. Do Jane and Bing get married? Does Lizzie start her own company? And just what does Lydia get up to in San Francisco? Maybe one day we'll get to revisit these modern Bennet sisters and find out!