Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (by Seth Grahame-Smith)
As spoofs go, this one isn’t bad. I didn’t feel like it was a waste of paper, but I’ll be leaving my copy on a bookshelf here in Iraq – not something I care to keep. It delivered on what it advertised, and I'm pretty sure no one bought this for the serious plot or redeeming literary value.
1. It has zombies, in scores. I had to giggle a little at the idea of calling them “unmentionables”, but wondered if it was a deliberate choice.
2. It has a weird Asian-martial-arts subtheme. (Yes, they could have called it Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and NINJAS.) I could have done without it – I mean, surely the sisters Bennet could have been schooled in some English ways to kill the undead? There are muskets and such, as well.
3. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a zombie slayer. Like, a famous one. I must admit, the idea of a duel to the death between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth does spice things up, but unfortunately Elizabeth lets her live. However, her character is intact enough to be snobby about where she was trained versus how the sisters were trained.
4. The Charlotte Lucas subplot (getting the zombie plague, and SEEMINGLY NO ONE NOTICES. Except Elizabeth, and Lady Catherine, who’s experimenting on her with some anti-zombie serum that only delays Charlotte’s collapse) actually made me sad. I mean, Charlotte’s situation is bad enough – she’s a twenty-seven year old spinster (quite on the shelf) with no prospect for escape from her parents’ house other than marrying Mr. Collins. And then, she doesn’t even get to snack on Mr. Collins’ brains. (I know, probably impossible.) He hangs himself, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. It was rather sad, and didn’t play well for me.
5. Zombies do not get Mr. Collins or Lydia or Mrs. Bennett or Caroline Bingley – clearly, no justice here.
6. There’s an unhealthy fascination with vomiting and soiling oneself. Played for a laugh, didn’t get one from me.
7. The male-reproductive-organ jokes were a little better, probably because they weren’t as overplayed. Several references to Mr. Darcy’s balls (as in MUSKET balls, as well as during the infamous exchange at the ball at Netherfield), as well as describing “that most English part” of the men.
8. The Lydia/Wickham bit was much better in the original.
9. Mary Bennet does better for herself in this book.
The absolute best part for me? The “reading questions” at the end. I have to admit, I think the whole idea of including “critical reading questions” at the end of something that isn’t a textbook annoys me. If you’re going to discuss a book, just discuss it. Talk about what characters you liked, and which scenes made you really FEEL something, rather than what theme you think the author is trying to invoke. Talk about why you can’t put the book down, or why you rushed out and bought everything the author had written.
These ones are funny. They’re as much a part of the spoof as the rest of the book. Like question #7, Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality? (Okay, I think a lot of us have asked ourselves THAT one.)
All in all, not bad – but not worth space in the collection, either.