Thursday, October 23, 2008
Lydia Bennet's Story
Odiwe, Jane. 2008. Lydia Bennet's Story.
The true misfortune, which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family. Lydia Bennet of Longbourn, Hertfordshire, not only believed that her mama and papa had most likely stolen her from noble parents, ut also considered it a small miracle that they could have produced between them her own fair self and four comely girls--Jane, Lizzy, Mary, and Kitty--though to tell the truth, she felt herself most blessed in looks. Lydia's greatest desire in life was to be married before any of her sisters, but a lack of marriageable beaux in the county and her papa's reluctance to accompany her to as many Assembly Balls as she wished had thwarted her efforts thus far.
Shall Lydia live happily ever after like her two older sisters? You'll have to read Lydia Bennet's Story for yourself to see. The greater question may just be...does she deserve to have her happily ever after? Lydia is many things. Playful. Boy-crazy. Immature. Irresponsible. Impulsive. Selfish. Vain. Spoiled. Silly. Naive. Flighty. Flirtatious. Entitled. (Reading that description, I think of Scarlett O'Hara. Isn't that an odd comparison waiting to happen!) And as the youngest of the Bennet clan, she is the least ready (emotionally and psychologically) to be married. She is one of those girls that is stuck-on-herself. Who believes that the world revolves around her. For her to get her happily-ever-after Lydia will have to change. She'll have to start growing up. She'll have to start maturing. She'll have to begin to think of others, to be respectful and considerate. She'll have to learn to compromise. She'll have to learn to think before acting. She'll have to become wiser and more genuine. Which leads to my question, is Lydia capable of growth and transformation?
Lydia's story is revealed through rather obnoxious diary entries and letters (simply because they're written by her), and through a more traditional third-person-narrative. The book is in two parts. The first which parallels what we know from Pride and Prejudice, and the second which is a sequel to the action. It is in this second section, that we see if Lydia does get her happily ever after.
It's hard to review this one without giving it away. George Wickham is George Wickham. And if you've read Pride and Prejudice you know exactly what that means. He's a shameless bad boy incapable of change, incapable of integrity. If George is who he is...is it possible even remotely for Lydia to have her happily ever after and remain Mrs. George Wickham? I'll leave that for you to decide!!!
So what do I think of this one. I found the ending to be a bit unbelievable. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't hoping for Lydia to get what she deserves--to pay for the consequences of her impulsive rashness. Okay, maybe a part of me was. But I knew better than to expect that in a contemporary sequel. But the ending seemed a bit rushed...not giving Lydia the needed time to mature and develop into a woman.
Other reviews: A Book Blogger's Diary, Jane Austen Today, Austenprose, Austen-tatious.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews