Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Posted July 23, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 4 Comments

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

 by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

 Original Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Length: 4oo pages
Publisher: Touchstone

Obtained Via: Advanced Reader’s copy given by the publisher through Netgalley. This in no way influenced my opinion of the book.
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Based on the Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

Twenty-four-year-old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters-beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.

When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets–and for Lizzie;s viewers. But not everything happens on-screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera–from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’; unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future–and whom she wants to share it with.

Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.

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 The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is based upon the web series, and you should really watch it first before reading the book. For those who don’t know, the Lizzie Bennet diaries is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Go ahead, get addicted:

I was both excited for this book and apprehensive. I mean, really–a novelization of a web series based on a novel? It seemed excessive and unnecessary, but I am happy to say it completely blew me away. You could totally read this before watching the series, but I really don’t recommend it. The reason being that the diary goes further into Lizzie’s thoughts and there’s some completely new stuff as well. I think it works better as a way to deepen the series, not as a starter.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is impressive in it’s uniqueness. After watching the videos, I totally read the diary in Lizzie’s voice. The fact this is written as a diary makes it all seem so real–more than once I had to remind myself that it’s fiction. The web series is so well done that it was difficult enough with that, but the diary makes it even more so. Lizzie and her family just seem so much like people I could run into on the street.

In the web series, most of Lizzie’s stories are told through costume theater. Viewers get to see glimpses of her sisters, Charlotte, and Darcy, but her parents remain pretty much off-camera. The diary forms really shows additional depth into Lizzie’s family, including some of the things only alluded to in the videos, like what exactly was going on with Charlotte at times and how her family was having money stress.

The web series itself was pretty good at giving both Jane and Lydia back stories and story lines in their own right, but the diary just takes that even further. Even though it’s all still through Lizzie’s eyes, so not exactly unbiased, it does give an clearer picture of the three siblings and their relationships.

One aspect I really appreciated being included was the ethics of the Lizzie Bennet diaries. For some reason, this always bothered me in the series. Lizzie may be quick to talk and share too much sometimes, but it’s clear she is ambitious and has professional goals, so it always struck me as weird that she never really wrestled with the ethics of her videos except for occasional mentions. It might be a small thing, but I feel like having the diary acknowledge that will ease some of that the next time I watch.

Plus, always a bonus–more Darcy! The diary reveals Darcy’s letter, plus the outing in San Fransisco, as well as other things. It’s completely adorable and definitely deepened my appreciation of what the web series was doing. The voice is completely Lizzie–it was easy to imagine Lizzie from the web series sitting down and writing these things in her diary. All in all, if you enjoyed the web series, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is well worth a read. I laughed, I swooned, I sighed happily. It’s not necessary to enjoy the web series, but I really can’t think of a single reason to not pick it up. It was a great read with a lot of heart behind it.
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Just absolutely perfect. The multimedia aspects of the Lizzie Bennet diaries is really unique and this book just adds to it. It’s very easy to forget these characters aren’t real and living in southern California! Watch the web series, become addicted, read the book, fangirl with me. 5/5 cupcakes.

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5 Stars

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4 responses to “Book Review: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

  1. Stormy

    Yeah, it was a really great supplement! And I wasn’t counting on it making me emotional. . . but it did, especially the parts with the Lydia storyline and getting to see more of Lizzie’s motivation.

  2. I’m so glad that you liked this. I really liked it too. I agree, that I think this is most enjoyable after having seen the webseries, but it’s fun in the other order, too. I loved the scenes with Darcy, and also getting to see Lizzie struggle with ethics.

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