Friday, January 14, 2011

So Bad It's… No, It's Bad

OMG I have been DESPERATE to write this review! So as you probably know, one of my chief sources for books these days is Austenprose.  There are a million and one P&P paraliterature books coming out lately, but I only find certain of them interesting - specifically, I have no interest in prequels or sequels, but I am a dedicated reader of same-quels (like that? :)).  I had read up to this point six - yes 6 :) - versions of P&P from Darcy's POV.  Some are better than others of course, all are not worthy of being mentioned in the same multi-volume tome as the original, but all of them up till now have been pretty fun.  So it wasn't like I was going to say no to yet another one - Regina Jeffers's Darcy's Passions, this despite the fact that she has published other P&P-inspired books and I had no interest whatsoever in reading them.  Anyway, I put it on reserve at the library (this was the third of the three reserves I picked up right before I left to Israel) and started it on the plane on the way back from Spain.  It took me a while to finish, but that's par for course these days, doesn't necessarily say anything about the book… and my main complaint with this book was not that it was boring.

So what was it about it then? WHERE DO I START?! Seriously, this is HANDS-DOWN the WORST book I have EVER finished, and quite possibly the worst book I have ever STARTED.  Are these caps annoying you? Take that twinge of impatience and multiply it… then raise it to the same power… and do whatever else you have to do until you're shaking your head in DISBELIEF… In the introduction to the book (yes, the book has an intro. :) - I can't even say that without shaking my head :)) the author states that she has taught in English literature.  I actually flat out do not believe her.  The grammatical errors in the text are *egregious*.  Aliza cited misplaced modifiers, but I don't even know what those are.   She made the basic mistake of using the inappropriate subject after a intro phrase (don't know the technical term, but it's the one for phrase like this : "Although handsomer than Mr. Bingley and now rumored to have 10,000 pounds per year, most of the assembly found him…") Then there's the complete misuse of transitions like "yet" and "however", when in fact the phrases in questions are either complete non-sequiters or in need of no transition whatsoever.  And seriously, is she UNAWARE that there is exists a tense known as PAST PARTICIPLE, to be used when referring to a continually occurring circumstance, so that it doesn't seem like we are flipping back and forth between two times and two locations… unless this rewrite contains the addition of a time machine? (man, I'm having fun with my scathing condemnation :)) 

Moving on from grammatical concerns, we have the next favorite red-pen markup to worry about - "word usage!" Sometimes it's a weird tone, sometimes it's unwieldy, sometimes, sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's *just plain wrong*. Take this one - I read it aloud to various people and burst out laughing each time - "howbeit pale" - that's just an excerpt from a longer passage, but seriously… I actually don't have a clue what she meant to be saying with that one. Anyway, the list goes on - I'm just flipping through it looking for these examples and I amazed all over again.  Over and above the clumsiness of the wording, there's blatant anachronism littering the pages.  "I bet", "phenomenal father", "you're amazing" ?! Since when does P&P take place in current-day America (and yes, I know there are multiple versions that do - I will be reading and reviewing another one shortly :)) I definitely have a bee in my bonnet about anachronisms, but HOW MUCH EFFORT DOES IT TAKE to say "I surmise" instead of "I bet"?! It seems like nothing but deliberate disregard for historical accuracy, which the author may find cute but which I find slightly repulsive - really, that bad.  

So what else do we have? Well there's her completely inaccurate portrayal of Darcy, Elizabeth, and everyone else in the book.  But it's not like I could really expect anything better.  Any time you read something like this, you're risking a totally skewed portrayal of the characters - yes, this one was worse than most, but I don't know if I can even complain… All right, I can complain - Elizabeth was alternatively flirtatious and idiotic and Darcy was by turns maudlin and overly-anxious.  Whatever it was horrible.  And that was before they got married.  The author takes it upon herself to continue the story after they get married at which point the characters become UNRECOGNIZABLE.  And not just unrecognizable and Darcy and Elizabeth, fairly unrecognizable as human either.  They sit there swooning over each other and declaring their love ad infinitum.  We know, we've heard, we don't even care anymore, and can this book pleeeeease be over so I can write my review? 

There was literally nothing to like about this book.  I think one time (can't remember where), I thought there was a fresh take on one the scenes… so it wasn't all bad from start to finish, I *guess*.  But it pretty much was.  Literally, I was just sitting on the train and shaking my head as I read, alternatively wincing and grinning in disbelief.  I guess in the end of the day, I enjoyed hating a book so much… and I did get through it, and got to this fun part :) Congratulations to me!

Verdict: 0/5 (Earlier in the reading I was going to give it a 2 for being "so bad it's good" but I couldn't.  I just couldn't.


  1. i love it- the review, not the book. now you're totally justified in reading it. :)