Okay, now when you’re done with that, come back and read this review. And then maybe get yourself a copy of The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet and snuggle up in your reading chair for a couple of hours.
What this book is, basically, is an adaptation of a YouTube series, which is itself a modern day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, told in interactive vlog-form (there are additional in-world videos, Tumblrs, and Twitter accounts, and if you watched live, you could interact with the characters). Please note: you absolutely don’t have to have read P&P to enjoy the series. I didn’t cotton on to it until it was about a month away from being finished, so I had the glorious experience of binge-watching almost all of it. I think I might have watched like, seventy-five episodes in a row or something. I remember I was sick at the time, and I just sat in front of my computer for nine hours straight (in a rather uncomfortable chair, I might add, since I didn’t have a laptop at that point, or the ability to stream YouTube on my TV like I do now). Such was the power of the narrative.
I had almost the same experience with the book, in that I read it straight through. I was a bit worried going in that it would just be a rehash of what I’d already seen in the series, but a majority of it is either new content (stuff they wanted to put in the show, but either couldn’t find a way to logistically make it work, or which wouldn’t have been something we learned via the chosen vlog format), or old content viewed in a new way. And since Lizzie is a grad student, it’s also sort of a meta-commentary on the videos she made (which in-universe were made as part of a graduate project).
Maybe I’m sort of underselling how fun both the book and webseries are. Especially the webseries. Lizzie gets around the problem of having people she’s talking about in the videos by role-playing with her family and friends, and it’s the goofiest fake costume drama ever. I’m also sort of obsessed with the girl who plays Jane, who has now guest starred on Bones, Sleepy Hollow, and turned up on Big Bang Theory as Raj’s love interest. For my money she’ll always be Jane Bennet, though. She’s so good at it! And she has the best hair ever.
Also, y’all should watch Emma Approved, which is Pemberley Digital’s adaptation of Emma, and Frankenstein M.D., which is their gender-swapped adaptation (partnered with PBS) of Frankenstein. Because the internet is amazeballs. Which is a real word now, so I’m totes allowed to use it.