I have to admit- I've always thought that when it came to book vs. movie, your particular preference always depended on what you experienced first. If you read the book first - you would obviously be disappointed in the movie, and if you watched the movie first - you would obviously be disappointed with the book.
Reading Pride and Prejudice has made me question this thought.
I really love the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen, and watch it at least once (if not twice) every 6 months. After reading the book, I have to say...I honestly think the book is more entertaining! (For your convenience you can order the book here or the movie here!)*
Call me a book person, I guess! Maybe it's the difference in the way scenes play out in my imagination vs. on the screen or maybe it's the witty banter that can occur in a book that has to be cut out to make a movie a watchable length. But I think perhaps what I enjoyed best about this book was the ability to take time to take it in. I wasn't rushed along quickly to the next scene - I was able to more fully enjoy the wit and the layers of character development with each page.
Which brings me to my main point:
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice tells a story that goes beyond the blatant socio-economic marriage struggle of the 18th century...it tells the story of two individuals who despite the self made walls of pride and social prejudice saw each other for who they really were. It paints the natures of pride and prejudice as both good and bad things. It uses simple descriptions of interactions, but the reader is supposed to read "between the lines" of the sarcastic wit to see the real truth of the matter. In essence, in both her story and the way she tells the story, Jane Austen invites her readers to see the complexity of human interaction and "drink deeply"... a lesson that we could use in today's age of shallow relationships built on distracted overbooked time.
If you haven't read it- let me explain with a quick character overview:
The Bennet family is made up of a father, mother, and 5 daughters.
The mother, Mrs. Bennet, has one goal in life and that is to make sure that her daughters are not only married, but that they are married to men of wealth and high social standing. (Which in the 18th century was a big deal). She really doesn't care about anything other than that, and she just comes off as a bit "silly" and overly dramatic.
The two oldest daughters, Jane and Elizabeth, are the main focus. Basically, they are at the age that they should be getting married if not already. Jane is kind of the shy, nice girl who wants to give everyone the benefit of the doubt whether they deserve it or not. She gets along well with others and generally thinks highly of people. Elizabeth is the outspoken, witty girl who calls it as she sees it, and more often than not she sees it as not quite right. Her character's thought process and interaction with others provides a deeper understanding of other characters.
The three younger daughters are a lot like their mother. Moody and only have a one tracked mind. They come off as naïve and lacking of any discernment.
As it so happens, Jane and Elizabeth meet two young men of great wealth.
Mr. Bingley is a super likeable guy. He isn't the most discerning guy, but he doesn't seem to care. He surrounds himself with people who have strong opinions that he trusts, and goes with what they tell him. He quickly becomes super interested in Jane
Mr. Darcy (the really, really rich dude) is Mr. Bingley's best friend. When he goes to parties, he sees no lady worthy of his attention and feels the need to share this thought with Mr. Bingley in front of Elizabeth. (ouch!). He comes off as reserved, and judgmental.
Then there's these two guys that just add interesting bits to the story: