I’m always intrigued by Pride and Prejudice adaptations. (Is it a truth universally acknowledged that I get excited for them?) But Ibi Zoboi’s “Pride” was a whole new level of buzz for me.
Featuring a diverse cast of characters, specifically Afro-Latinx Bennets (or, in this novel, the Benetiz family) I knew I had to get my hands on this. While it does feature a young adult cast, I wouldn’t suggest you shy away from it because it may seem “young adult.” This book is one of the best modernizations I have read in a long time (and I dearly hope it gets made into a movie!).
Zuri Benitez is our Elizabeth Bennet. She’s dealing with the social tensions of being Afro-Latinx in a rapidly changing Bushwick, applying for college and the possibility of losing her sister’s attention for the summer.
No small issues. Zuri is also a poet and besides the poems in the novel, there are many moments that come off as lyrical as well. When she talks about home, family and food you can feel this warmth of realness that is both familiar and refreshing, the later because I haven’t read many people who can write this well.
One of the reasons I really enjoyed this adaptation was because the rich Darcy family moving in created the typical romantic tension, but added handfuls of social commentary, an aspect I think many modernizations completely fumble.
Zuri’s neighborhood is rich in diversity, but, like many neighborhood’s like that, it’s slowly being taken over by wealthy white people, and with those people comes changes that eventually push out the original populations. (Hint: it’s called gentrification.) So the wealthy Darcy family moving in is a red flag to Zuri, and in Darius Darcy she finds a black boy who has a very different experience in life than she has.
This book has so much depth. From the tension of physical space and perceptions of identity to the struggle of finding your place in the adult world. I read this twice in a row, and savored every second with it.
What you should drink with this: Splurge on your favorite bottle of wine and drink a little each time you pick this up.
Who should read this: Anyone who wants a good modernization of Austen. If your favorite part of Austen is the social commentary you should enjoy this as well.
– Admin B