Take 1800s Britain and Bring it to Brooklyn

I've long been a fan of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, from the book itself to its many film adaptations (the 2005 edition starring Kiera Knightley is my personal favorite). I can't remember when exactly, but at some point I became aware that a new retelling of the story was on the market and it remixed the story more than any other I had come across. Needless to say, my interest was piqued.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

What Made Me Read This Book? The plot got my attention. Not only did it keep the timeless tale of marriage for love versus marriage for money, but this edition added a modern twist to the story -- moving across the pond and bringing gentrification and Afro-Latinas with it. Also, I happened to be purchasing two books by white writers and felt the need to buy something from a writer of color too.

Brooklyn born and raised, Zuri Benitez loves her family, her apartment, and her borough. As the second born of five girls, Zuri feels a responsibility to keep her younger sisters in check, be a rock for her older sister, a good daughter for her mother and father, a helpful neighbor, and a great student headed to Howard. But her plans get shifted when a wealthy family moves in across the street, another example of the growing gentrification plaguing and changing the Brooklyn Zuri knows and loves. Things get even more complicated when her older sister falls for one of the boys across the street as Zuri reluctantly finds herself falling for his younger brother... mess soon ensues.

My Rating: ✯✯✯✯.5 - I started and finished this book over the course of one day; not only was the writing well done, but it was interesting and kept me going in a quest to see how this version of the story I know so well would end.

Why? I will admit, there are some major differences between this novel and the classic it's based on. Aside from the time, color, and location, there are clear personality shifts in this book. At times, that made this story harder to read because Zuri takes Elizabeth Bennet's stubbornness to a new, even more frustrating, level. But as annoying as those points can be, other moments and characters make up for the behavior change. I also just really enjoyed reading about people of color. Zuri's mother is Haitian and her father is Dominican and those cultures are explored thoroughly and enjoyably. It was also interesting to see the disapora included and a showing of how black people are not a monolith. Besides race, Zuri and Darius Darcy have absolutely nothing in common and the immense differences/spectrum of blackness is shown expertly. The issue of gentrification, from New York all the way to Howard University in Washington, DC, is also explored in depth as it and Brooklyn almost serve as separate characters in their own rights. I appreciated how this novel took a classic I was well verse in and made it into something so new and modern that I truly did not know what would happen next while still maintaining the essence of its origins and key scenes. It was updated and relatable and black and Brooklyn and fantastic.

Favorite Line: "He laughs and I pick up the sweatshirt - a logo of Hillman College from that old TV show A Different World - and hand it to him. I walk out of the store and wait for him outside as he pulls out his wallet with a big fat smile on his face... Everything about this afternoon with Darius Darcy feels like home."

Also the artwork is just beautiful.

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