Tag Archives: Classics Retold

Real Reads: Pride and Prejudice

Austen, Jane. Real Reads: Pride & Prejudice (2009). 64 Pages. Windmill Books. price unknown*

We can’t help re-making the greats, sometimes we do silly things, like dumbing them down so they’re more “child-friendly” which sometimes works. Occasionally, books are too dense, and contain vocabulary which children would not recognize. I am of the opinion that this struggle is positive, and dictionary skills are a good thing to acquire.

The book at hand is a simplified retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Gill Tavner did the re-write, and Ann Kronheimer did the illustrations. The style of writing and the style of drawing do work well together, and the overall effect is mild and pleasant. There are characters whose roles have been cut (Kitty, Mary, & Mr Collins most notably) and there are story-lines which have been altered or removed (the estate’s entailment, Charlotte’s spinster status, and more) but the book acknowledges this in the back, and explains that it is well worth reading an unabridged version. The story is very short (it ends after 54 pages) but it is easily comprehended. They did a fairly good job of simplifying a classic to make it a quick, easy read for children.

There is a whole set of Real Reads Classics, including their Indian Classics line (which has the Ramayana, a fun story). I imagine it’s a fairly popular way to get younger audiences reading books which are mostly tackled by adults these days.

In Conclusion:

For now, this version gets a 3/5. By adult standards, it’s nothing special. It’s a solid abridgment, aimed at children, and it has nice illustrations. It’s got the major plot points in it, and it references the plot points it has removed. It offers some discussion/consideration questions at the back, and is therefore a fairly good volume. I have not run it by my sisters (the age group at whom it is aimed) and pending their approval, it may get a score upgrade.

I’ll be running this by my sisters to see how much kids actually like stories like this, but I think that it’s a good start, and an easy way to introduce kids to classics. I’ve been conditioned to feel that classics are good, and that it’s important to read, even if what you’re reading is not “good” by adult standards. It gets a 3/5 until I get a sisterly stamp of approval for a score upgrade.

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* I found it on a clearance shelf in the back corner of a second-hand store. I’m not sure how much it originally cost, but I paid $.99 for it.

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Filed under Book Review, Children's Fiction

Jane

Lindner, April. Jane (2010).367 Pages. Poppy. $17.99

There are two distinct groups, it seems; the Jane-ites or the Bronte-ites. It is difficult to be a part of both groups, (but not impossible) because while Jane Austen wrote romances and social satire, the Brontes wrote melodramas, your classic Gothic novels, and people frequently like one or the other. I am more familiar with Jane Austen than Charlotte Bronte, and I’m sure it’s obvious why; I prefer light, fluffy romances to dark, brooding dramas. This is not always the case, however, and it is not unheard of for me to pick up a “serious” novel.

Because it is October 6th, and the book is not published until October 11th, you will have to click “more” to read the rest of the review. I will say that it was a very good book, and I had trouble putting it down long enough to go to work. If you like retold classics, then you will likely enjoy this Jane Eyre reinterpretation.

(There may be spoilers if you are unfamiliar with Jane Eyre, so proceed with caution.) Continue reading

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Mystery & Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Romance