The satirical novel by Seth Grahame-Smith and of course Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, has been gaining a very large cult following of readers. I was very hesitant to read this novel as I worried the zombies element would somehow desecrate the timeless tale.
I have read many other PP spinoffs over the years and often found myself disappointed. I had to go into this book with an open mind and know that it would NEVER be the same as the original and was really meant to be something more light-hearted and funny rather than a serious novel.
There has lately been a huge resurgence in the interest of zombies (like so many other supernatural characters)—I have enjoyed many hours of the Plants vs. Zombies video game and confess hearing the zombies chant ‘brains’ and growl is nothing short of hysterical. So in essence I was intrigued and decided to pick up the book and being with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by the entire tale.
It was a little weird having the whole ‘Asian’ flair the writer employed and parts were a little grotesque, but over all it added a bit of lightheartedness to the book. I died laughing when they talked about the ‘sorry stricken’ and Charlotte (who becomes a zombie) can think of nothing else besides sweet succulent cauliflower like brains. I could not help but laugh out loud when Charlotte was musing over Mr Darcy’s large head which made her think ‘he had more brains to feed on’.
The famous intro to the classic PP is of course: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. In the zombie version the tale begins in a similar fashion: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of brains is in want of more brains”. As it does with the original, the opening sentence sets the tone for the entire novel. One of the questions at the end of the story (yes there were book club discussion questions in the back of the zombie version, really LOL) suggests that the zombies represent the authors view on marriage and I agree to some degree.
In supernatural literature, zombies are most often symbolize society’s fear of being brainwashed, mindless, and conformists. Like wise vampires are often eccentric, omni-sexual, draining, while werwolves are the hot-headed, ill tempered, wild-children….other figures such as possessed machines and such almost always represent a fear of technology and change. So that said it is not a jump for me to consider the zombies as a symbol for marriage.
In the novel Charlotte is turned into a zombie after she marries Mr Collins which suggests a marriage spawn out of necessity or opportunity rather than love will end in the parties becoming one of the sorry stricken searching for succulent brains! While Bingley and Jane and Elizabeth and Darcy manage to avoid becoming Zombies looking for brains. One might argue that if this were the case then why didn’t Lydia and Wickham not turn into zombies, but there was love there (or at least attraction) at some point where as Charlotte and Mr Collins was truly just a union and nothing more.
The zombies and all the marital arts in the novel did add an interesting flair and comedy to the story and it sported quite a few good lines of humor. Hands down the best scene in the book is when Darcy and Elizabeth are walking the grounds at Pemberly and Darcy reaches in toward Elizabeth catching her off guard: “His intentions were respectable, for Darcy merely meant to retrieve his Brown Bess (musket) which Elizabeth had affixed to her back during her walk. She remembered the lead ammunition in her pocket and offered it to him: ‘Your balls Mr Darcy?’ He reached out and closed her hand around them and offered, ‘They belong to you Miss Bennett’”. Seriously I haven’t laughed that hard in quite some time. It was so out of place and so random that it just worked so well.
If you are looking for a literary masterpiece here then move on and don’t waste your time, but if you are looking for a nice light hearted story check it out. But one should have at least read the original version before as it makes the whole zombies thing more entertaining.
- Kindle Edition, 324 pages
- Published May 1st 2009 by Quirk Books (first published 2009)
- ASIN B004HW7E6U
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Contempo Literature, Horror, Pararomance
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of brains is in want of more brains