Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Could You, Colleen?

This weekend, I threw a mini-tantrum while reading my next book-club book. A girl can only take so much. I've been reading Literature with a capital L since college (my major), and I can officially do it no more. I'm so tired of pretentious modern books in which every character is insane, there is no real plot line, and there's enough trash in it to make a sailor blush. 

So, in a huff, I returned all my library books, on a quest for some true, down-home, wholesome adventure. I placed The Princess Bride on hold, which I've been meaning to read since James and Shannan told me it was so good. 

Until it arrives, I wanted some book normal people read. Not the stuffy intelligentsia. Nothing Oprah would ever recommend. So I found a new one by Colleen McCullough, of Thornbirds fame. I thought to myself, "Richard Chamberlain was exceedingly handsome in that mini-series, so this must be a good book." 

It's called The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, and is a continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which is the pinnacle of romantic fantasies of many a girl, much to the chagrin of men like my husband who hate that Darcy. But I love Pride and Prejudice, and every spinoff ever made of it.

So imagine my chagrin upon reading this book in which:
  1. Turns out Darcy's actually a horrible, evil brute who wishes he never married Elizabeth.
  2. Bingley is an oppressive slaveholder in Jamaica, with another mistress and family there.
  3. Though Darcy dislikes his own son for being effeminate, he is having a bro-mance with his murdering hitman. 
  4. Mary Bennet (the ugly, annoying, pious one) is now the most beautiful woman any man has ever laid eyes on, and many swoon at her feet. 
  5. She has been kidnapped by a blind cult leader who thinks he's the son of God and lives in a cave...
Umm, yeah. So needless to say, I'm not a fan. I'm reading it pretending it's some other Bennet family. 

But I have to ask, how could you, Colleen? Darcy hates his wife, and Bingley's a slaveholder? You've taken the most beloved "happy-ending" of English literature and said it was all lies and fairy tales. I was trying to escape the modern, realistic tripe I've been reading in which there are no happy endings, only to have you shred my fairy tales. A girl has got to have her fairy tales. 

It's going to take me awhile to get over this. My mom said it took her years to get over Scarlet...


Elizabeth Messer said...

You know, I actually really like "Scarlet", but that story sounds odious! Horrible! The idea makes me very cross! And I am already cross enough!

Have you read The Thornbirds? I love that story...but it is QUITE drama filled.

Tara said...

This is why I enjoy reading Biographies. You have no false hopes about the ending--you already know how it ends. My second favorite? Children's books for elementary aged kiddos. I would suggest Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher--it makes you cry in the end, yes even moi, but I love it. Let me know if you want it and I can bring it to you when I see you this weekend!

Karyn said...

WHAT?!?! This is completely unacceptable news. I am going to close this window and pretend I never heard such barbaric information about our beloved Darcy and the Bennets.

Becky said...

you should read some good, shallow chick lit

Jon The Hart said...

I like saying 'Mister Darcy' in that horrible cockneye accent that I enjoy so much.

That book sounds terrible.

I could use clarification, are the books that Oprah recommends considered intelligentsia? Or were those two separate classes of books that you had equal disdain for.

I don't know what did it, but something killed in me the desire to read fiction as of late, maybe I just miss school but I've been reading mostly books on economics, some history, and politics. I would recommend Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization. It's one of my favorites from the past year that's a lighter read.

Amber said...

Yeah, Tara, bring it to me.

Jon, we have How the Irish Saved Civilization on CD. I liked his other one too...about Greek civilization. I personally am a much bigger nonfiction fan than fiction, but I try to mix it up.

No, Oprah and the intelligentsia were a different category, but both annoyingly pretentious and both categories I'm banning for now.

Steph said...

Yeah, that's heresy--I'm traumatized by just the summary. There are some other pretty raunchy spin-offs out there too. I never got past the first chapter. Only four good spin-offs exist to my knowledge.

Aaron said...

You know, perhaps it's time to try "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies"?

Amber Van Schooneveld said...

You know, someone just told me about that, Aaron. But I think I'm going to have to stick with the classic.