At the end of October, I signed up for Megan’s Semi Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge. The challenge runs from 1st November 2016 to 31st January 2017 and in that time I need to read 12 books to meet various challenge specifications. Having finished reading The Feast of the Goat just in time on October 31st, I thought I’d better dive in and get started with one of my challenge books. There’s no need to read them in order and I was badly in need of something lighthearted, so I pulled Pride and Prejudice and Zombies off the shelf – it being the text I was planning to read to fulfil the “read a modern retelling of a classic” challenge.
A friend from my undergraduate physics course gave me this for my birthday a few years ago and I’m quite embarrassed to have not read it yet. Much more embarrassed than I am of having never read Pride and Prejudice. It was definitely about time.
I’ve not seen the movie and I’ve not seen any adaptions of Pride and Prejudice either. The closest I’ve come to having heard this story before is having seen Bridget Jones’ Diary, which I understand is something of a modern re-telling of itself. I don’t remember anything about Bridget Jones’ Diary except the bit where she made blue string soup, which always reminded me of The Clangers. Anyway, needless to say, apart from it being very likely to be daft, I had no idea what to expect from this book.
I was not disappointed. It was very daft and very silly and very light-hearted and in general was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to read right then. As far as I can interpret, it contains all of the major events of Pride and Prejudice, told in the same order and in almost exactly the same way, but interspersed with zombie attacks and regular references to the Bennet girls’ combat training and that of the other characters in the book.
For example, all the Bennet sisters are trained in Shaolin but only Elizabeth and Jane, the eldest two take it very seriously. Mr Darcy was trained in Japan and is famous for how many zombies he’s killed, as well as for being rich and rude. Mr Bingley is not a good zombie killer, but Jane likes him anyway because he’s nice.
The characters fret over what is socially acceptable, about which marriages might be good matches and about getting husbands but also about not getting eaten by zombies. It made me want to watch the movie but it also, surprisingly, made me want to read the original text – if only to discover how much this version has abandoned it. Thank goodness for silly books.