Once upon a time, I was a sophomore in college, double majoring in history and anthropology, and I had what I believed to be a really great idea. I was planning on taking a Native American history course as part of my history major requirements, so when I saw that there was an anthropology course called Native American Peoples and Culture, I decided that it would be beneficial to take them both. I could get two sides of the Native American experience. No way would I be inundated with the same information, right?
About six weeks into the semester I was, to say the least, exhausted by the thought of Native American anything. Don't get me wrong. I have Native American heritage and am close friends with someone who is 100% Native American; I'm not disparaging anyone for their race. What I mean is that between those two classes (and an archaeology class that I was taking in which the professor specialized in, get this, ancient native populations in Central America) I wasn't getting a lot of new material. The history class and the archaeology class were great, but the anthropology class was not. Regardless of whether I liked the classes or not, however, after a while I just kept hearing the same things week after week. In fact, if I ever have to write another paper about Kennewick Man, my head might just explode. Two in one semester was enough, thank you.
So, what does this have to do with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Surprisingly, everything. It had been a few years since I'd read the original by Jane Austen and, as I was expecting something completely different from Grahame-Smith's book, I decided to reread Pride and Prejudice first, just to make sure that I could ensure that I knew exactly what was going on in the zombie-laden edition of the book. What a dumb idea that was. Turns out that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies should have been called Pride and Prejudice WITH Zombies.
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When it says "by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith," it means it. Rather than retelling the story, he simply worked zombies into the original text. Sure, there are some omissions and some things have been truncated, but for the most part it's exactly the same as Pride and Prejudice, except with ninjas, zombies, and a Mr. Darcy who actually tells Miss Bingley exactly what he thinks of her. If it weren't that I had just read the original, I think I would have enjoyed this book more. As it is, I'm going to go back to it in a few months, once I've read some other things. I love the original, but there are very few books that I can read twice in a row. In fact, I think Good Omens is the only one I've ever been able to do that with.
So, no, I'm not saying that I hate Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I actually like it quite a bit, but I need to put some distance between me and Jane Austen's novel before I go back to reading it. And for all of you out there who say that you aren't going to read the original because you don't think you'd like Pride and Prejudice but that you liked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: guess what? You like Pride and Prejudice. :)
On a related, but different note, I just found out today that my wish has come true. I had said in a Top Ten Tuesday list a while back that I thought that Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should be made into a movie. One of the students who works at my library just told me yesterday that it's actually going to happen. Here's the IMDb page for it. I'm so there when it comes out in theaters next year.