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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a mash-up of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice with the addition of zombies, gore, and horror, including graphic descriptions of beheadings, the eating of organs, decapitations, and countless zombie killings. There are as few minor direct and indirect references to intercourse, such as Mr. Bennet having taken girls to his bedchamber in the Orient. The book's roughly 80 percent original text drawn from Austen's comedy of manners, and 20 percent horror-themed monster plot woven throughout. It's best approached as a satire or very tongue-in-cheek revision of one of the greatest novels of all time, and no substitute for the original.
What's the story?
The Bennet girls -- Elizabeth and her four sisters -- are looking for love against the stacked odds of no inheritance in a small British 19th century town. But in the meantime, they need to do a little zombie slaying to handle an infestation of unmentionables who've descended on their sleepy borough after a plague. Along the way, they navigate class, wealth, gender, social customs, courtship, and the usual human folly, plus a whole lot of zombies. And some ninjas.
Is it any good?
To appreciate this tale, you should probably enjoy Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice and have a healthy affection for zombie gore, which has littered the TV and film landscape of late. Together, these strange bedfellows present a curiously entertaining spectacle of a gentle, good-mannered comedy about human folly right next to descriptions of the particular taste of a Japanese heart. It's at times odd, sometimes unsettling, occasionally funny, but strangely more seamless than you'd imagine.
For teens who are voracious readers of classics and contemporary works such as graphic novels, this imaginative exercise in mash-up can shake up their ideas about art and creativity outside the typical English class curriculum. For kids who might need a reason to be nudged in the directions of classics for a second look, this could be a fruitful path. For parents, this version of the story, unlike most mainstream zombie fare, introduces opportunities for discussions of history, gender, class, and mores, all through a strong female heroine. And hey -- it's 80 percent rooted in greatness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the addition of zombies affects the classic Jane Austen novel. Does adding zombies in any way improve upon the original? How so?
Though the Bennet girls are certainly independent in the original novel, how does making them ruthless zombie warriors here add to the tension of the gender roles in the novel's Regency setting? How do these characters compare with female heroines in action movies today?
Zombie-killing aside, what conclusions can you draw about the importance of choosing a mate carefully in love and in life? How are characters rewarded for patience and punished for rashness?
- Authors: Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
- Illustrator: Roberto Parada
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Quirk Books
- Publication date: March 1, 2009
- Number of pages: 360
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
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