Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

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I miss this blog so much, but work has been insane. But I’m hoping that things get better once National Novel Writing Month.

But I just finished a book, because I managed to get enough time in to actually read.Yep, I actually found time to read this weekend. Of course, my parents are also out of town for the weekend, so I’ve had a lot of time to myself. I actually bought The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet for my trip to Wisconsin, but that never happened.

Let me start this off by saying that I love the Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series. I gave to the kickstarter and got the DVDs, and I like rewatching them over and over again. When I heard they were doing a tie-in novel, I was excited and couldn’t wait to be able to afford it. I have wanted this book for a year.

The book was disappointing.

As far as diaries go, this is a let down. Not very introspective, except for when Lizzie’s opinions of people is changing. That’s about the only time you get some introspection. You don’t even get much that’s different from the video in terms of scenes. There are a handful of scenes sprinkled throughout the diary that aren’t in the videos. Lizzie having some intimate conversations with her dad about Lydia and finances, Lizzie’s conversations with Dr. Gardiner, there’s a moment, while they’re at Netherfield (that I’m not spoiling here), that doesn’t even get alluded to in the videos.

Most of the diary is the videos in narrative form, we’re just getting the events described in the videos before the video hypothetically airs. Each entry includes hyperlinks in the ebook format to the video, or videos, that follow each entry, cluing the reader in that the experience isn’t just reading the diary, it’s reading the entry or entries, then watching the videos that correspond with the entry you read. I understand that it adds a level of interactivity with the material for something that has been a multi-media platform experience, but by doing that, the material in the diary entries should have gone more in depth, and depth was something in the diaries that was seriously lacking. Lizzie still held back significantly for something that should be a confessional style diary.

There are two or three occasions where the video is transcribed word for word, which baffled me and still makes no sense. I feel like Rorick and Su could have found a way to describe the events that transpired during a video recording, because diaries are supposed to be, by their nature, introspective. They could have delved into the more emotional aspects of the transcribed videos, while not losing Lizzie’s voice. Transcribing the videos verbatim was a lazy way out of really getting into the essence of who Lizzie is and what’s going on in her head during these videos, not to mention it defeats the purpose of watching the corresponding video.

Overall, it’s still worth a read, but if you’ve already watched the videos, you might want to give this one a pass. You’ve already heard about 90% of the material covered in the book through Lizzie’s vlogs.

I’m hoping The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet turns out to be better, at least I would hope so for a book that takes place in the aftermath of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Maybe we might see a slightly more emotional voice, and something a little more introspective, since there will not be the reliance on video blogs.

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