Someone Please Explain the Appeal of Mr. Darcy

It is a truth universally acknowledged that women everywhere love Mr. Darcy…except me.  I’ve read Pride and Prejudice multiple times and I’ve tried, really, really tried to figure out what it is that makes this (to quote my uncle) the greatest love story of all time.

I’ve made this complaint before and my dear friends said, “It’s just the time period that you have a problem with.  The writing style was different then.”  Yes, I know. 

In an effort to greater understand the Austen infatuation, I read other novels from bordering eras — Frankenstein, Dracula, all the Bronte works (Wuthering Heights wasn’t better, per se), and the entire Sherlock Holmes collection.  It didn’t help.  I still want to slap Elizabeth and Darcy upside the heads and yell, “Spit it out.  You take so freaking long to say nothing.” 

So knowing my lack of devotion to all things P&P, it will probably surprise you to know that I spent last night reading this:

And that I actually enjoyed it.  The main character, conveniently named Jane, is infatuated with Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy.  (I haven’t seen that version, but I’m assuming it’s not tremendously different from the novel).  Jane’s great aunt dies, leaving her an all-expenses paid vacation to Austenland–three weeks of Austen-era immersion. 

Jane wants to kick her Darcy habit (which again, I totally don’t understand) and quit looking for the ideal man.  (Sidenote:  The Darcy in the 2005 P&P remake reminded me of Edward Scissorhands, and succeeded in making me feel uncomfortable every time he was on the screen.  Dude looks like he needed an extra-strength laxative.)

While I can’t fathom the Darcy love, there were other things about the book that were great: dialogue, character interaction, and a tiny bit of intrigue. 

So if you’re looking for a quick, clean, romance, Austenland was a pleasant read.

But I still find Mr. Darcy unattractive, arrogant, long-winded and judgemental.

Ridicule me at will. 



9 Comments

  • Julie Dorris

    I haven’t completely gotten through Pride and Prejudice just yet…I own the book, but it’s currently in storage. I’m DYING to read it now…and I’ve glanced at Austenland several times but never picked it up because I’ve never read the original…now? Going to read. Must.

  • Su

    I wanted to smack them, too, but I was happy they ended up together. I don’t think I necessarily feel the Darcy love, but I don’t hate him either, I guess? And now I want to read this book.

  • Jen

    You need to go watch the BBC version…and then read the book again…and then maybe you’ll like it 🙂 I love Colin Firth. So there. Oh, but I also really liked the 2005 remake. And all the other Pride and Prejudice spin offs. And Austenland. And wow…I read a book before you did?! Ah. It’s because it was Jane Austen related.

  • Becky Wallace

    @Prerna: I love that. Darcy was the original bad boy with a golden heart! Awesome.

    @Julie: No rush to read P&P. It’s been around for centuries and will stil be there when you get back to it.

    @Jen: You read it and didn’t tell me? Maybe we’ll have to plan to be in the same state when the movie comes out. Should be pretty awesome.

    @Christine: I’ll give you the gallant. He does manage to pull that off.

  • Kristan Hoffman

    “unattractive, arrogant, long-winded and judgemental”

    Isn’t that like every man you’ve ever met? 😛

    The thing is, Elizabeth Bennet isn’t perfect either. And I think that’s what makes P&P so adored. It’s two real, flawed people falling in love — with some social comedy/commentary as backdrop.

    I get that it’s not going to be everyone’s thing, and is Mr. Darcy over-hyped? Probably. But I do love it/him.

    Ditto Rochester in Jane Eyre.

  • Kasie West

    Yes to what Kristan said. And I love me some Darcy. And also, I really enjoyed this book: Austenland. It’s being turned into a movie which I’m really excited about. But I will not ridicule you. Everyone is allowed their own version of the perfect man. Darcy is just not yours. 🙂

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