Release Day Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet
by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Series: Standalone
Released on: June 24th, 2014
Publisher: Touchstone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by: Mel

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A modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie's viewers. Suddenly Lizzie—who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman—was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie's special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie's thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series' executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it's never been done before.

This is, hands down, the most pleasant surprise I've had this year. And by that I mean HOLY S**T I NEVER KNEW THIS BOOK EXISTED UNTIL I GOT IT IN THE MAIL *DIES*. If anyone doesn't know why I was so excited, SHAME ON YOU. This book, is basically the transcript/book version of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a webseries on YouTube that was created by Hank Green and Bernie Su (author of this book.) And there was no doubt that this would be anything but amazingly awesome.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet follows, you guessed it, a young woman called Lizzie Bennet.
She is very much like the Lizzie from the original novel by Jane Austen, but Lizzie here definitely has more sass and is much easier to relate to (most likely because she's been modernized). She currently lives with her constantly on the worry mother, father and two totally polarizing sisters; Lydia, a free spirit and incredibly melodramatic, and Jane, so very sweet and kind to the rudest of strangers. And that's what I love about this book, the characters are so diverse in terms of personality, and also racial backgrounds (for example, Bing Lee and Charlotte Lu <-- only people who have read Pride and Prejudice will understand how they came up with those last names.) 

The friendships and sisterly love are some of the greatest highlights in The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. They follow very similar arcs to the ones in Pride and Prejudice, and I love how they are so constant and feel genuinely heartfelt. I love how Lizzie and Charlotte can be so open and honest with each other; Jane and Lydia were also sweet additions and I'm glad that in this adaptation of Austen's classic, they kept the number of sisters to just 3 and chose two who had completely different quirks. And of course, we cannot forget Mr. Collins. He's just such a delight. *hint hint sarcasm* 

I think what let this book down (which was only by a little notch) was the romance. Before you come charging at me with pitchforks, let me explain. I feel like it's inevitable, that while you read this that you will be comparing The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, with the book. And sadly, I just didn't find the romance as swoon worthy in this case. But seriously, don't let that be a deterrent. This novel is absolutely worth the time. 

Personally, I think that this book is more fun to read while or after you've read this book. I did attempt rewatching the webseries while reading this book, but I only made it so far when I couldn't feel my fingers off the pages. I highly recommend this for lovers of Pride and Prejudice or the webseries, or just anyone who wants a good time giggling and fangirling. 

And now, I leave you with episode 1 of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries... (Spoiler: you will get addicted. And I'm not sorry.)


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