Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones, Tony Tanner, Claire Lamont, Jane Austen I read this book once many years ago, but I have been looking forward to re-reading it. I was not disappointed. Although this book is not historical fiction, at this point it might as well be, as it gives us a look at the England of high society in the early 1800s. Couple that with Austen's writing style, which I really enjoy, and her caustic humor, I couldn't lose.

Jane Austen has a very distinctive writing style. Some people love it, some hate it. I happen to be one of those who love it. Yes, she uses big words, lots of them, but to me that just makes the book more Victorian. I find myself reading it with a decided British accent (or at least trying to). In addition, I find it fascinating how differently some of the words are used in the book, and how different their intent is than the way they are used now. For example, the word condescension has a decidedly negative feeling today, while in this book, it is still used to look down on someone, but as a matter of right and it is not necessarily a negative trait. I have also heard many people complain that Austen uses the same word over and over, but I did not find that happening in this book. She did have words that you could tell that she liked, but not to the point of overuse.

Another factor of this book that I really enjoyed is the sarcasm and "snarky" way that Jane Austen portrays the society that she grew up in. Some of the characters seem overdone, but that only adds to the sarcasm. Who could actually be as good and even tempered as Mr. Bingley? Or as pompous and condescending as Mr. Collins? Or as insipid and stupid as Lydia Bennett? These characters are wonderful characatures of the worst of those sections of society. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Bennett were a breath of fresh air with their liveliness and ability to take things less seriously than most of the family.

The copy that I have had editors notes in the margins that would explain items of historical significance, define unfamiliar terms, comment on how the book differed from or paralleled Jane's own life, and how the film versions handled some themes. For some people this may seem distracting, but I actually like it. It is like reading the book with a friend and discussing it as it goes along, but it is probably not for everyone.

I really enjoyed this book and can easily see why it has become a classic. Jane Austen has been quoted as saying, "The problem with most good novels are that they end too soon," which certainly fits this book. I am really looking forward to watching some of the film versions to see how they handled the story.

4.5 stars from me.