Recommended for ages 12+
I’ll admit it – I’ve never been a huge Austen fan. My taste in classics runs more toward the Bronte sisters, filled with more angst, rage, crazy wives locked away, that whole gothic thing with the moors. Lately, I’ve been bound and determined to re-read Austen, though, and decided to start with Stacy King’s manga adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
I loved this retelling! Po Tse’s manga style art is lush and sophisticated, with sweeping panels and beautiful attention to detail. There are great little winks to the manga style I’m more familiar with (I have three sons, therefore I have watched much Pokémon), like the cartoony, wild expressions of absolute joy or despair, meant to encourage a reaction from the reader, that enhanced my enjoyment of this story.
The basic story is all here – the five Bennett daughters, the overbearing mother trying to marry them off, the headstrong Lizzie and the prideful Mr. Darcy – all here, with all the supporting players. The manga style allows for exaggerated facial expressions, adding a relatable dimension to the more restrained drawing room drama.
The book reads in manga style: that is, from right to left, and a note to readers at the end of the book explains this. There’s a letter to the reader from Stacy King, discussing the appeal of Pride and Prejudice to modern audiences, particularly teenagers.
This is a great introduction to the classics for tweens and teens, especially those who may find the classics “boring”. I’d love to get a few copies of these manga classics on my library shelves and get kids reading them in preparation for the real thing – it lays a great groundwork and adds faces to put to the names, so when they do pick up the book, they’ll be more familiar with the characters and the world where the story takes place.
And heck, I’m going to sit down and read Pride and Prejudice again, myself.