Jan 18, 2008

My Mr. Darcy...

Me & Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter made me want to pull out the old Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice again and watch the Keira Knightley movie, which I did last night. Potter's dialogue can be witty at times and her parallels to the original work are uncanny and hard to miss, particularly between Emily Albright and Spike Hargreaves. Emily is much like a modern-day Elizabeth Bennett given her reliance on e-mail, text messaging, and other things. Spike, on the other hand, is no Mr. Darcy. Like any other nonsensical romance, there are unbelievable leaps of faith to be had in this book.

***Spoiler Alert***
The book opens with another horrible date about to end for Emily in New York City where a modern day man is asking her to put in more money for the restaurant bill because she ordered extra toppings on her half of the pizza. How dare he ask her to pitch in?! This part confused me, perhaps because I am not a New Yorker or because I am interested in paying my own way even on dates. I'm not sure, but she seemed a bit petty to me in the beginning...though he did ask if she had the additional 75 cents for the bill and proceeded to count her change as if he did not believe she gave him the correct amount. After her date and being left on the curbside when her date steals her cab, Emily swears off men.

At the bookstore she manages in SoHo, her co-worker arranges for them both to be off for Christmas and New Year's so they can go to Mexico on a 18-30 binge. Emily, the bookworm that she is, doesn't want to even think about the nasty, sweaty, drunk men she will meet there and makes up a vacation, which to her delight becomes a real vacation in the countryside of England--the home of Jane Austen and Mr. Darcy.

The trip to England has her butting heads with Hargreaves, who is no Mr. Darcy in stature, eloquence, demeanor, nor beauty. He's an average guy with average looks (sorry, I did not find him appealing--call me a snob if you must) and an investigative reporting job with England's The Daily Times. He's on the literary tour to interview its participants, including Emily, because a recent survey of women discovered Mr. Darcy is their dream date.

Suffice to say, as the tour continues, Emily gets wrapped up in her fantasies of Mr. Darcy. Whether she hits her head a lot, faints, becomes unconscious, or what have you is unclear. What is clear is how real these encounters with the fictional character seem to Emily.

***End Spoiler Alert***

I won't go into all the details that parallel Austen's work here because they should be easily picked up on. Had the book been titled differently, I may have not gotten the connection right away.

Would I have made the same choice as Emily? Probably, but then again my fantasy dream date is not Mr. Darcy.

Now what I really need to check out is this Pride and Prejudice movie with Colin Firth. I hear from Emily that its a romantic's dream.

For the moment, I'm traveling down The Road with Cormac McCarthy.


Anna said...

You'll love The Road! And now that I'll be reading this Mr. Darcy book (thanks for passing it on!), we'll have some good book discussions. Though probably through email since you'll be working from home.

Colin Firth....I'd love to see that one with you....

I'm interested in seeing the parallels between this new book and the old one.

Serena said...

I think you will enjoy the Me & Mr. Darcy book....it's a good easy read for sure and funny. I have to find the Colin Firth version first...so I will keep you posted on that one.

I am only on page 35 in The Road, but so far it is good.

Suey said...

That really sounds like a fun book!

Today I'm going to watch the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice with my sister... at least most of it anyway. She is going to read Austenland soon and I told her she had to watch this movie first.. and then I told her couldn't borrow it because she had watch it WITH me! I'm so excited!

Serena said...

Jealous. What is this Austenland book of which you speak??

I think I need to hear more.

Suey said...

Austenland is by Shannon Hale.. one of my favorite authors... though she mostly does YA Fantasy, this was her first in the adult, romantic comedy genre. It's about a girl who has an infatuation with the Colin Firth movie and can't get over the fact that no man will live up to her "Mr. Darcy" ideal. She's ends up at this "vacation resort" place called Austenland, where people can live out their Jane Austen fantasties. Fun, fun idea! And a few twists and turns and lots of laughs!

Serena said...

I will have to check this one out then. Thanks for the idea.

Boffcat said...

Just one thing - the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice isn't a movie! It's a six-part series which was made for television. (Sorry, I can't help myself; I'm a pedant!) It's absolutely wonderful though, I'm sure you'll love it.

Serena said...

I don't mind a six-part series...LOL that makes it even better I think.