Classics Carnival: Guest Post: More than Just a Love Story by Charity Tahmaseb

If you missed SisterSpooky‘s Geek Week in June then you seriously missed out. I picked a book to review for the week at random little realising it was a re-imagining of Pride & Prejudice.

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Geek Girls Guide to Cheerleading
Author: Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 19 May 2009
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When self-proclaimed geek girl Bethany becomes the newest member of the varsity cheerleading squad, she realizes that there’s one thing worse than blending in to the lockers: getting noticed. Who knew cheerleading was so hard? Well, at least there’s a manual. Too bad it doesn’t cover any of the tough questions like: What do you do when the head cheerleader spills her beer on you at your first in-crowd party? And how do you protect your best friend from the biggest player in the senior class? Bethany is going to need all her geek brainpower just to survive the season!

Read my review HERE

So today it is with great pleasure I welcome Charity Tahmaseb to Book Angel Booktopia to look at the parallel in social divides from Regency London to Modern Day.

Pride and Prejudice Is Not a Love Story

Wait. Pride and Prejudice not a love story? Well, hang on. To show you what I mean, we first need to take a detour across some great divides:

North vs. South

Red vs. Blue

Country Mouse vs. City Mouse

Is division inevitable? We may not live under the strict societal rules of Regency England, but ask anyone who has surveyed a sea of cafeteria tables, lunch tray clutched tightly in her hands. Social divides? They exist.

This is why I believe Jane Austen’s works still resonate, and Pride and Prejudice, most of all. It has nothing to do with the romance–not even with Colin Firth in a wet shirt. Swoon-worthy as both are, neither is the reason we can’t get enough of this story.

So why can’t we get enough? For readers, Pride and Prejudice has an irresistible pull. We want to see and hear this story retold in countless ways, on the screen–big and small–and in YouTube episodes. We want both faithful retellings and those involving rock stars. We want a copy of Pride and Prejudice in every room of our house. In case of emergency, break glass and reread the proposal scene.

And how many writers have paid homage to Pride and Prejudice, be it one of those retellings or simply a nod to their favorite author? (Guilty as charged.)

When we read (or watch), we long for the moment Darcy restores Lydia’s reputation (and by extension, the prospects for all the Bennet sisters). We cheer when Elizabeth holds her own against Lady Catherine. In Elizabeth and Darcy, the best parts of two opposites come together and combine into an even better whole. As Claire Harman writes in Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World:

“One is meant to admire Darcy, of course, but only after he has gone through the rigorous de-classification (or perhaps middle-classification) demanded by the heroine. Her great coup is to gain a share of hereditary wealth without changing her own social attitudes one iota, and part of the readers’ satisfaction with the imagined outcome of the novel is that the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth will combine his “aristocratic” good breeding with her social inclusiveness.”

Think of it like a blueprint. Or perhaps a map. No matter how hard we work to divide and conquer, we return to Jane Austen and this idea of inclusiveness. Never mind the nearly two centuries between her story and the here and now. We reread Pride and Prejudice because it still provides the clues we need to navigate our social divides.

So you see, Pride and Prejudice is not a love story. It’s much, much more.

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Classics Carnival: Guest Post: A Jane Austen Tour by Raimy of Readaraptor

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Von Rupert

    What great insights. I love your comparison to the school cafeteria. Haven’t we all felt that one?

  2. Avatar

    I agree with you. There really isn’t a whole lot of romance on screen, so to speak. It’s more the social commentary and the characters, at least for me, though the love stories that always end the books are great. I read somewhere (I think it was The Western Lit Survival Kit) that Jane Austen novels are great for men because she doesn’t write all the details about the romance and the weddings.

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