The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: Remakes Done Right.


(ARC given by NetGalley)
: Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Publishing House: Touchstone
400 pages
Publication:  24th June 2014
Review by Lady Entropy

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

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.

This book is the companion book to the NetSeries (on Youtube) The Lizzie Bennett Diaries — which I had watched and loved. This is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, which, as a book and love story, I never particularly was a fan of, but I couldn’t help but ADORE in the video format. Maybe it was the actresses, maybe it was the writing, the fact is that I loved it, and this book helped to fill some of the gaps. Obviously that 5 to 10 minutes episodes were limited in scope, so the writers had to cut out quite a lot and just leave the strictly necessary — between episodes there was often a jump of several days or even weeks, and Lizzie would give a quick description of what had happened and move on — plus, there was always the awareness that she was talking to “real people” so it was easy to guess the character would hold back and keep some things secretive. Especially at the end of the story when her sister’s reputation is in danger, she keeps some details secret as the subject is clearly private and sensitive, so the audience is left to mostly guess what happens.
But this book presents the perfect reason to fill in the gaps, to add small details and make the main narrative awesomer. Lizzie has a quick wit, and she doesn’t try to make herself look good – she’s as critical to herself as to anyone else.

On the one hand, I admit, it kills off a bit of the mystique, on the other hand it does clarify and presents some awesome plot points, so I am glad I read it. Plus, it dubs very well as a stand-alone book, and a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice whether or not you have watched the WebSeries.

Still, I would recommend this to anyone with a sense of humour or who loves Jane Austen — and I would also recommend picking up the WebSeries to watch while you read — it’s free, after all, and definitely worth it.


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