Monday, May 07, 2007

First Impressions

Book: First Impressions
Author: Marilyn Sachs
Published: 2006

Alice doesn’t understand why everything thinks Pride and Prejudice is such a great romantic comedy. To her, Mary is her soul twin: a middle child, bookish, and underappreciated. Her glossed-over fate is a tragedy. Alice’s paper, explaining this position, is given a C+, and she is horrified. She can’t get a C+ on anything. Ever.

The teacher relents and says she has the chance to redo the paper, if she re-reads the book over Christmas break. Alice reluctantly turns back to page one, and begins to re-imagine the book, giving Mary a more positive role. But to her surprise, she starts to see the other characters as reflections of the people in her own life, and begins to understand both in a deeper way. Maybe you should beware of first impressions, after all . . .

I should admit, full disclosure, that I am a Jane Austen nut. I’ve read five of the six major novels (still can't finish Mansfield Park), and I feel incomplete if I let more than a year go by without reading Pride and Prejudice at least once. I have most of the movie adaptations. Any retold story, I’m there, enjoying the heck out of it. The upshot is, when I heard about First Impressions, I knew I had to read this book.

However, I wouldn’t give this to anybody who hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice first, or at least seen a movie adaptation and has some idea of the plot. Not just because I’m so partial to it, but because the book reveals certain plot points of Austen’s novel that shouldn’t be experienced second-hand.

This is a quick and fun novel, especially for fellow Janeites like myself. Just be sure to have a copy of the original on hand, because you'll want a re-read.


Charlotte said...

This sounds right up my alley--thanks!

Little Willow said...

Two more Austen-related books for you:
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
and the forthcoming Austenland by Shannon Hale