Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick & Bernie Su

June 24, 2014 Book, Joint Review 23 ★★★★½

Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Kate Rorick & Bernie SuThe Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su, Kate Rorick
Genres: Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Media Tie-In
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2014-06-24
Source: Edelweiss, Netgalley
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four-half-stars

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

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a twenty-four-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things reallystart 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. 

Written by Bernie Su, the series' executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format and design, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it's never been done before.

 

Marianne’s Thoughts:

Having been a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube, and basically recommending the series to EVERYONE, this book is just what I needed to convert me into an even bigger fan.

I loved this book because it added such a layer of depth to what the videos on YouTube where all about.

Why did Lizzie want to start this in the first place? Is she being completely truthful in her videos? What happened when the camera wasn’t on? All these questions get answered!

I really loved this because it captured Lizzie’s voice perfectly. You can still feel her snark, her hopefulness, her contempt; we can feel everything she’s feeling.

It was like I was right in the middle of something amazing happening. While Lizzie’s videos where slowly gaining more and more views, I could really feel the book building up to something amazing. I could feel Lizzie’ character growth, as well as experience first-hand Jane’s and Lydia’s parts in Lizzie’s story. I almost felt like I was another Bennet sister witnessing the drama that was their life. I relished every second of it.

I also loved the fact that since this was a diary, we would get some insight as to what Lizzie actually felt. I was transported back to that time in my senior year where all I ever did on my free periods was clutch my phone desperately hoping for a new video to be uploaded in the LBD playlist.

Something that I found odd, yet wonderful, was the fact that I think I fell so quickly for Darcy in this book. Even when he was being a total asshat, I couldn’t help but smile at his awkwardness. Darcy is charming in a way that he never tries to be. I think that was wonderfully executed both on screen and on the page. I am a Darcy lover through and through!

The only complaint that I have is thtat the most pivotal parts of the book where either transcripted from the videos or glossed over. I wanted to see more emotion! More Lizzie and her frantic, disorganised thoughts!

However I really think this book did a wonderful thing; it took one of my all-time favorite books (and one of my all time favorite book adaptations for that matter) and brought it together. 

You don’t really need to watch the series to read this book, but it’ll be a much more amazing experience if you watch the series first (or even concurrently with the book!).

Overall, a really well done adaptation that will bring new depth and meaning to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Hats off to Bernie Su & Kate Rorick. They’ve reaffirmed my love for this series in a wonderful way. I’d like to believe that Jane Austen herself would be amazed at the way this series has captured Pride and Prejudice. 

Rating: 4.5 stars

If you want to see where it all started: 

Jennifer’s Thoughts:

My reaction when I discovered there was going to be a Lizzie Bennet book, then that it was available in Netgalley for request, getting approved, and the book in general… xD

 

I’ve no idea how I ended up knowing of the Lizzie Bennet videos. I think it was Marianne who recommended them (it usually is because of her lol). I loved the videos and the complete retake on Pride and Prejudice in a more contemporary way that’s attractive to the 21st century viewers.

While in the videos we are shown a lot of things from Lizzie’s life and others around her, there are limits to what you share in the Internet. Not so much when it comes to a diary.

I loved how in the diaries, while sometimes repetitive of what happened in the aforementioned videos, it still managed to keep a fresh perspective of Lizzie and give her, and the others, more depth. Because it was written in a diary format, when I read I could know Lizzie in a deeper sense as to what she was thinking, why she did certain things, even more than on the videos. And I loved it.

The book started very professional and business-like, like the videos. They’re part of Lizzie’s thesis project, and what started as a simple take on her life was later on transforming into something much more. Lizzie, while recording, kept a diary in where she wrote her thoughts, experiences, and rants about certain people, things she couldn’t really share with the internet. It was full of Lizzie’s personality as we see in the videos. We get to know her even more as a character and understand her, plus see her development as a character as things happen that make her change her opinion of others and question her “good judgement” of others. I could relate to much to Lizzie and her personality even more <3 She’s so funny, sassy, sarcastic, full of snark, but caring, loyal, honest, and there for her family. She has her priorities, and fights for them however she cans, even with the ever-growing student loans.

There was also more description and interaction with the other characters we see in the course of the videos, like George Wickham, Caroline, Lydia, Jane, Lizzie’s parents, Darcy (*swooons*) and other characters. While I haven’t read the original Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, I do know how the story goes because of watching various versions of movies and tv series by BBC. I loved how the book was more like a retelling of the book with lots of twists to fit in with this age rather than the one from Jane Austen. It really is an adaptation, even more so than the videos.

And I can say with certainty that I completely detest even more Miss Catherine De Bourgh. Lizzie has demonstrated she has a much better restriction ability that I wouldn’t manage to possess in the presence of such a person like Catherine. Ricky Collins was annoying but cute and loveable all at once, but Catherine? I almost punched my Kindle imagining it was her face. I’d kill the woman on sight and enjoy it.

And I can also say that I am even more in love with William Darcy <3

Is there anyone even more perfect and loveable than him? If you loved the Jane Austen version, ladies and gents, prepare your heart because this newer version of Darcy is a heartbreaker of epic proportions. He starts as a snobby, know-it-all, arrogant fellow as told from Lizzie’s perspective. But, like our dearest Charlotte in the videos, we start to notice small things from Darcy through the book that wasn’t in the videos. And we start to helplessly fall in love with him. He’s so shy and awkward it’s so cute, loyal, smart, comical and funny, caring, a great dancer, a worker, and always respectful. He knows his faults and, as Lizzie by the end of the book, is almost a whole different man we love even more than before. Eeeeeep…

I read this book in two days. I slept until three am those two days. I had finished the videos the day before starting the book. Might as well call me Wonder Woman because I made a new reading record and on time for the release. And you know what? I regret nothing.

While the whole book was great, I don’t think it would be ideal for people to read it without watching the videos. A lot of things are explained well, (maybe it was me or something) but there were moments when if I haven’t seen the videos, I wouldn’t understand it all completely. Maybe it’s only me, but please watch the videos, before or while reading. It also makes the whole Lizzie Bennet experience better.

Pride and Prejudice fans, see the videos. And whomever has seen the videos, this is a must read.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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We're two Puertorican girls who want to share our love of reading with the world. We sometimes substitute words for GIFS and either rant or fangirl a lot in our reviews. Talk to us about anything! 🙂
  • I am not a P&P fan, but this book sounds fantastic. Thanks for the fabulous reviews 🙂

  • I love, love, love this YouTube series! So much so that I bought the book as well. I’m so happy it’s just as great.

  • I’m actually not familiar with the youtube series (although i’ve heard of it i’ve never sat down to watch them) but i have heard a lot of good things about this book. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much 🙂

  • Yay I am so glad you girls both enjoyed this book! I just loved watching the series, I marathoned a lot of it but then I dragged it out so I could save it. I really wish they continued the series even though it’s technically finished with a HEA. Can’t wait to read the book!

    • The book continues the series a bit, but it’s obviously not the same. Even with the original I wished I could’ve read more! Hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  • I love this SO much. I watched episodes 21-100 last Saturday, and I’m still in withdrawal. SO good! I think it’s my new favorite retelling. I think the modern adaptations were just incredible. Okay, I’m going to stop now, but I LOVE IT TOO!!

    • SO GLAD you’re on the same boat! I’m going to buy the DVD’s soon. It’s been a year and I’m still in LBD withdrawal! 🙂

  • OH DUDE! I loved this series and was so addicted to it on YouTube. It was so perfect in all of its awkwardness. And Darcy. DARCY <3 amazing

  • Seems like a good retelling, though personally I don’t do many books in the diary format.

  • Almost everyone is obsessed with this book and youtube series! (I’m scared to brave this one because I’d end up not getting any sleep!) I love that this series is being raved about and I couldn’t wait to actually read it. Your review is pumping me up with excitement!

  • Yay, I’m glad you both liked this one! I had pretty much the same reaction when I found out there was going to be a book too, I love the videos 😀 So fun. Fantastic reviews, ladies!

  • I am checking out the YouTube videos as I blog today! If I like them then it sounds like the book is the next step! Thank you for a great review. I am a Jane Austen fan, so am very excited.

  • AMAZING reviews guys! I’m late in the LBD train but I’m so glad I discovered this series because I just, quite simple, love it. It’s the best modern P&P retelling ever and the book just solidifies that fact. I love how all the characters are portrayed and the changes they have made to be in touch with today’s times. I can honestly go on and on with my love for this series and I’m so glad to have found a fellow fan with you guys!

    And where can we find our own Darcy?? Am I right?! 🙂

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