Sunday, August 28, 2011

Prom and Prejudice

I'm a complete sucker for lots of things...Meg Cabot, dachshunds, To Kill a Mockingbird, bargains, mysteries, and Jane Austen and anything Jane Austen-ish.  I love to read the Pride and Prejudice spin offs like The Phantom of Pemberley and Me and Mr. Darcy, but these are for the older crowd.  What I really love about Elizabeth Eulberg's Prom and Prejudice is that it could introduce the younger set to the Elizabeth-Darcy awesomeness in a way that is lighter and modern.  Then, the well meaning, strategic true Austen fan can steer them into the classic Austen after they've already been bitten by the bug.  Because, truly, how can you not be?  He's Darcy! (squeal!)

Prom and Prejudice  (watch the trailer here) is set at the exclusive girls school of Longbourn, where prom is the biggest deal in the world.  I mean these girls have custom couture gowns, the editors of Vogue descend upon the school to scope out the trends- it's the whole nine yards.  It's the equivalent of the first party of the "season" in Austen's time.  Longbourn girls of course go to prom with gentlemen from the neighboring boy's school, Pemberley Academy (how could they not?). 

As with all schools there are the haves and the have-nots.  In this situation, the students who are on scholarship to Longbourn are the have-nots.  Enter one Elizabeth Bennett (Lizzie), who is a talented piano player and quite sensitive to her position as a scholarship student.  Those snooty Longbourn girls don't treat her very well, OK, they treat her like crap.  She gets milkshakes thrown in her face, her coat stolen, and lots of other wretched things.  But through all of this she can count on her best friend, who is truly the nicest person in the world, Jane Netherfield.  Jane obviously has an impetuous sister named Lydia.

Lizzie comes to know Darcy through Jane's relationship with the dashing and sincere Charles Bingley.  Their relationship seems ill-fated, but manages to pull through.  Lizzie and Darcy have the classic "I hate you" turned "I love you" relationship you'd expect, but there are some great twists.  Of course George Wickham comes on the scene to cause tons of trouble and allow Darcy to become the shining hero we all know he can be.

Aside from it's Pride and Prejudice overtones, I really like how the book shows the hardships of making your way in a place where you might be different and uncomfortable.  Lizzie learns she really has a place at Longbourn, despite how she is treated by some of the other girls.  And, there are some unconventional reactions to traditions.  I like it when people (real or fictitious) do what's best for them instead of always what's expected.

Elizabeth Eulberg (see her read from Prom and Prejudice) also wrote The Lonely Hearts Club (watch the trailer here).  I haven't read that one, but I'm sure that it includes her witty style and would be a great read.  The author's note references lots of great writers like Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins as giving her advice or praising her work.  With guidance like that, I'm sure we will see more of Eulberg.  Keep it coming!

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