When Blind Dates Go Bad

I deeply love the works of Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice, for all its flaws–it does have them–is one of my favorites. I also enjoy retellings that put a new spin on things. Not so long ago I went starry-eyed over a modern retelling set in Pakistan. Sadly, my blind date book did not inspire such affection.

In fact, it not only didn’t inspire affection, the whole “date” went wrong before the proverbial appetizers were finished. Check, please.

Every new chapter had a new problematic issue; xenophobia, homophobia, fatphobia. Seriously. Liz likens her father’s neglect for their familial estate to an obese person not cleaning parts of their body in the shower because they can no longer see them. Kitty repeatedly and condescendingly calls Mary a lesbian as a way to provoke her. Mrs. Bennet is terrified that Jane is too old–at 40–to bear children and will be like a neighbor of theirs who “after all those procedures still ended up with little Ying from China.”

Also, in the original P&P, Lizzie befriends Wickham after having met Darcy. They bond over their mutual dislike of him. In this version, before we are ever introduced to Darcy (I didn’t make it that far) Liz is already dating Wick–a very married man. He keeps telling her that he’s only still with his wife because they don’t want her “very Catholic” grandmother to disinherit her so their 19-month-old can’t go to private school; and that the only reason they still sleep in the same bed is that the couch is uncomfortable. She is gullible in a way that I never found Elizabeth to be. Elizabeth believed Wickham because her disapproval of Darcy colored her perspective, Liz believes Wick because she wants to sleep with him.

As I ranted about this to someone else, it was brought up to me that maybe it is all so bad to showcase how each person changes and that it will get better. Maybe. But I’m not sure I can stomach any more of it. I have never DNFed a P&P retelling before. This may be the first.

I judged the book by the cover and got burned. I should have known better.

P. S. It was not an oversight, but a conscious choice that I did not name the book or the author. I didn’t want to draw attention to the book. No need to give it any publicity.

P. S. S. If you recognize the book I am referring to and it has any redeeming qualities or plot points, you are welcome to say so in the comments. I would love to have a reason to keep reading, but right now I just can’t.

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