PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: Some Thoughts

Look. Pride and Prejudice is one of those books where if you haven’t read it, can you really call yourself a reader? The Austen fan club is enormous, and spans across centuries. What is it about Austen’s work that makes it so unforgettable? Many a romance has been based on Pride and Prejudice, which is essential hate sex in its most gentle form. Elizabeth, proud and strong and independent, hates Mr Darcy because he’s— quiet? Socially awkward? Rich? All of the above? And then somehow, Mr Darcy proves himself to be anything but the prejudices Elizabeth has placed upon him.

By “somehow” I mean 300 pages of frustration because COME ON, LIZ. Get it together.

I’m currently taking a class on Jane Austen and what I’ve learned in the first 3 weeks is that Austen’s literature is much darker and much more sexual than what appears to the eye. It’s no secret that Austen’s works are hard to get through: her style and narrative form (free indirect discourse in abundance!) make reading her novels tough. There is little action: the novels run on emotion and thought alone. The setting and plot feels so far away from us, but are they really? Clearly not, because these stories are being told and retold over and over again.

Pride and Prejudice is a great novel, but I want to discover is what makes it so great. What is it about this story that makes people want to tell and retell it over and over, in one thousand different forms, and in every fandom ever.

P & P is one of my favourite love stories, yet I still don’t understand it. Do we identify with Elizabeth, or Darcy, or both? Is Pride and Prejudice a universal truth, or is there something playing underneath the surface, something subconscious that draws us in?

Say what you want about Austen’s style, but I think it’s impossible to call her anything but genius.

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a little update

So I’m back at university, which means less reading books, and more reading textbooks. Sad face. But if I do come across anything interesting, or I find time to read anything other than Jane Austen, I will be sure to share it with you!!!!

Hopefully I have time to reread Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda because I love that book. I just reread I’ll Give You the Sun and I cried every 5 pages. I’m glad to see that we’re still in love.

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST: A Book Review

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you will find a book that demands to be read.

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So I don’t often read novels with lesbian protagonists. I’m not sure why: maybe it’s because it’s hard to find quality novels that interest me with female queer characters? Maybe it’s because lesbian lit is harder to find? Who knows. When I saw The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danfort sitting on the bookself in my local Chapters, I leaped on it. I had heard of the novel, but I knew nothing about it, other than something about it being banned at a high school or something. This book called to me from the bookshelf, and I am so glad I picked it up. I don’t know if I’d call it “life changing” but it’s definitely life influencing.

First off, Cameron is badass. She is not a femme fatale lesbian, or a butch lesbian, or any other lesbian cliche you can think of. She is a human being who happens to like girls. That’s it. Cam is, understandably, confused initially by her attraction to girls and she knows she “should be” ashamed of it, but she never really seems to be. She accepts herself, and realizes that that’s all that really matters. It takes time, of course, but she is so unapologetic: this is who she is, and nothing is going to change that. And I fucking love her.

This is a coming of age story. It’s a story about becoming yourself, and realizing that no one gets to choose who that is for you.

The first half of the novel is about Cameron discovering her sexuality, and her relationship to her peers. She kisses girls, she kisses boys and yet she never seems to worry too much about any of it. After kissing a boy, she decides that it isn’t for her and the boy– get this– actually accepts this and writes a nice letter telling her that he does. It’s such a nice moment that could have easily gone dark and cliche. Not everyone is a bad guy.

And even the people that should be “bad” really aren’t. Yes, Cameron gets sent off to conversion school, and yes, that’s bad, and yes we should hate her family for this but you– don’t. They’re all struggling, all trying to understand. They’re complex, and what they’re doing is wrong, but they’re doing it in sincerity. You wish they learn, and they realize that they can’t change Cameron, and it kind of breaks your heart when they don’t.

Honestly, I would have loved to read more about the school. I found this part utterly fascinating and heartbreaking, and I would have loved to see more of it. The best part, I feel, is that Danfort does not romanticize any of it. No one is “cured” from their “homosexual sins” because there is nothing to be cured from. It is extremely evident that this school is not doing anything it promises it will. But in a twisted way, the school does some good. It allows Cameron to burst from the cocoon she was hiding it, and face her past. It allows all of its “disciples” to realize that maybe, maybe, they’re perfectly broken just the way they are.

I love this book. I really, really do. I think everyone should read it, but I stress the need for this book to be read by young girls. It’s not a tragic lesbian story. It’s a book about the bravery involved in becoming who you are, and how the past can shape you, but it doesn’t have to control you. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about being honest and true, and never letting the world control you.

4 dollhouses out of 5.

SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA: A Book Review

This is the cutest love story I have ever read.

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Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli wasn’t what I thought it would be and I loved it for it. I thought Simon was going to be a sarcastic little shit, with a quick tongue and a wit found only within John Green novels (the cover did compare Albertalli to Green). What I found was something completely different: I found a reserved, sweet boy who is afraid yet confident, and just trying to sort through his feelings. I found someone who kind of… reminded me of me.

I really loved this book. The characters were all wonderfully unique and sweet, and I found myself even empathizing with the “bad guy.” Everyone was characterized so well! I cannot stress how important this is to me, and how much hard it made me fall for the book. Simon, especially. He was a fully developed character, with contradictions and complicated thoughts and emotions. Simon Spier is probably in my top 10 favourite (and most relatable) protagonists.

One of the most fun parts of this novel is trying to figure out who Blue is. I am proud to say that I figured it out (okay, it really wasn’t that hard, but let me have this). But knowing who it is doesn’t ruin any of the fun of the story. It becomes a delicious dose of dramatic irony, where you want to scream at Simon “he’s right there!” And when Simon finally does figure it out, it’s— beautiful. And the best part? The novel doesn’t end there! There’s still 40 pages to go!

This is one of my favourite love stories. It’s funny and sweet and tastes like melted cotton candy. It warms this cold heart of mine, and maybe even made me giggle and clutch the book to my chest once or twice. Maybe. And maybe it made me squeal “I love this book!” every couple of pages. It might not be the most original story, and it might have its fair dose of cliches, but the book as a whole is simply beautiful.

I am not one for romance, but I am not exaggerating when I say that I love this book.

5 emails out of 5.