Pride and Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite books, it’s one of my desert island books. Absolutely every time I read it, I get something about it. When I was in my teens, I read it for the romance, but as I matured, I started to get more and more out of it. Although I’ve heard the book dismissed as “wedding porn”, the fact of the matter is, Jane Austen is pragmatic rather than romantic about marriage. Written at a time when divorces were almost impossible to get, Jane Austen’s book takes marriage very seriously as who one marries permanently impacts the quality of one’s life (which is still true, particularly if one has children). The book is full of unhappy marriages, most notably Mr. and Mrs. Bennett. Although at first glance, Mr. Bennett is more sympathetic than Mrs. Bennett, closer reading reveals an indictment of Mr. Bennett’s laziness and contemptuous attitude towards his wife. In all of Jane Austen’s novel, the romantic leads must earn their happy ending by getting to know one another very well, by establishing that their love interest is worthy of love and respect and, most importantly, have the stability that Jane Austen deems a necessary ingredient to a felicitous union. In every book there’s an attractive, charming love interest whose flightiness makes them a bad bet for a long-term commitment like marriage. Her heroes and heroines have near-misses, avoiding marriage to these creatures. It’s not particularly romantic, but honestly, I think Jane Austen’s wisdom on these matters is still relevant. Love is a good starting point, but it’s not really enough if you want to have a successful marriage or partnership.
I love this novel for its wisdom, it’s well-observed comedy of manners. I love it because it’s light and bright but also deep and wise. I love it because it entertains and informs. I just love it.