Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I have never proclaimed to be fan of Jane Austen and her books. I find her books (the two I have read at least) hard to swallow as a modern woman. OK, I did actually like Northhanger Abbey but I have never read Pride and Prejudice (Shocker, I know) and Sense and Sensibility drove my senses out of bounds. So when my book club chose Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought OMG, I have to read Jane Austen, ugh. My second thought enjoyed the idea of Jane Austen's characters kicking some zombie butt. The juxtaposition of sweet, tame, proper society girls from the 1800's battling zombies almost made me gleeful. Maybe one of them would get eaten. Fat chance.
So if you know the story of Pride and Prejudice, you pretty much know the story. Mrs. Bennet has five girls all trained in China, in the art of zombie killing, at the insistence of their practical father. Mrs. Bennet's dream is to see her daughters properly married to a man with a good income. It is the Bennet girls duty to defend their town against the frequent zombie attacks. Lizzy has exceptional killing skills and can behead a zombie in a single swing of her sword. When she first meets Mr. Darcy at a ball, he offends her with an off handed remark and Lizzy prepares to slit his throat with a dagger. Unfortunately zombies interrupt the party and the Bennet girls form Pentagram of Death, a 5 pointed star and with daggers in hand decapitate every zombie in the room. I think this is when Mr. Darcy began to fall in love with Lizzy and I began to love the book.
I hate zombies, they are gross, probably smelly and they just kind of freak me out. The Bennet girls don't like them either and that made me enjoy this girl power, zombie butt kicking story. Seth Grahame-Smith has created a strong cast of female characters while still keeping them in Austen's traditional society roles. I heartily embraced the re-creation of this "great" book and am even a little bit tempted to read Austen's original. I laughed out loud several times, enjoyed the word play and puns and loved the artwork included of Lizzy and her sisters slaying the undead. I have to say that I had a darn good time reading this story. Adding a modern twist, like zombies, to a piece of classic literature is a creative way to get people interested in reading the original. Do you agree?
Seth Grahame-Smith also has a graphic novel version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well.
Note: I am not sure if die hard Austen fans and scholars will enjoy this parody.