Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Perfect Romance

The perfect romance novel. To give a book such a title is quite a feat and even with such a title, it falls short of really describing the book, but it is at least a starting point.

I, like many other people, am in love with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I think it is truly the perfect romance novel, but I can’t even begin to explain why, which is exceedingly frustrating. I have a degree in literature and journalism. I have devoted most of my life to writing. I know how to dissect a poem or a short story or a novel with the best of them, yet I can’t pin down the true heart of what makes Pride and Prejudice so amazing.

Is it the idea of this dark, reserved brooding man falling head over heels in love with a woman and having the self-confidence to admit it? Is it the witty, intelligent young woman who speaks her mind and stays true to who she is and her ideals? Is it their love and devotion to their families? Is it their struggle against the social mores of their time? Is it just a damn good story? Yes. No. All of the above.

As a lover of books, you read to be transported to another time and place. As a writer, you read to learn new tricks and techniques, to hone your skills. A part of me wishes I could write something as wonderful as Pride and Prejudice, but at the same time, I don’t want to dig to deep into the technique of the book for fear of accidentally killing its beating heart.

I have read Pride and Prejudice several times, I have watched the movie with Keira Knightley, and I have read a couple books that are “sequels” to the original novel. Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are truly timeless characters. While “hopeless romantic” would not be an accurate description for me, I will admit that it is nice to run across a happy ending every once in a while.

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