Initially a web-series, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a reinvention of the classic Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You don’t have to have a solid grounding in the original, although a general understanding (and appreciation) of the original will help in this story.
I found that this felt as if it were more a companion piece to the series, with some details repeated and others more involved. While it provides a strong correlation to the original story, and the characters in modern form are easy to relate to their originals, there is plenty of modern elements to make the story enjoyable for those who aren’t fans of historic fiction.
Oft-repeated elements that seem to be mainstays for Lizzie: her difficulties with her sisters, the endless juggle and matchmaking, and even Lizzie’s own feelings on rights for women. All of these also are repeating elements in the original, and the sense of ‘poking fun’ at some of the characters that Austen uses is solidly grounded in this story. Being familiar with the original Pride and Prejudice, I wasn’t finding the correlations difficult to spot or understand, but some elements are obviously grounded in the video story, and weren’t explained with enough detail to provide clear understanding.
Purportedly in diary form, the format is loosely based and very much carries the feeling of a playwright or scriptwriter having charge. Descriptions and dialogue vary greatly from detailed to the last and least element to a broad brushstroke – all holding in an overall tone that felt analytical and logical. It missed that touch of heart that I had hoped would bring Lizzie fully to life. Perhaps with an exposure to the web series I would have been more engaged with her revelations. Secondary characters are clever and alternate between funny and regimented, most holding true to their original influences.
Narration is provided by Ashley Clements and I understand she is the actress who portrayed Lizzie in the videos. In this audiobook, she manages to bring most of the voices of characters to individual distinction, employing pitch, tone and delivery changes. The one exception was the voice of Charlotte who I found rather flat and monotone, but with the cast of characters to present, there is always one who doesn’t quite fit.
I would recommend this for those who are fans of the video series, or interested in using it as a companion to the video series: for those who are simply fans of Austen will find that while this is a clever and well-done adaption, it needs just a little more.
Stars: Overall : 4 Narration 4 Story 3
Title: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel
Author: Bernie Su, Kate Rorick
Narrator: Ashley Clements
Published by: SimonandSchuster.com/Audio, Touchstone
Published on: 24 June, 2014
Source: Simon and Schuster Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 53 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound
Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and 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. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.
Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.
A copy of this title was provided via Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.