Friday, 22 January 2010

Me and Mr Darcy by Alexander Potter

Me and Mr Darcy by Alexander Potter tells the story of Emily, a hopeless romantic and Jane Austen fan who opts out of a holiday to Mexico with friends and instead decides to go on holiday to England to visit the land of Jane Austen and go on a literature tour. Here she meets Mr Darcy and romance ensues.

I had high hopes for this book and I have to say that I was incredibly disappointed by it. The original concept was quite original and I thought Ms Potter was going to do something quite interesting with it. She basically retold Pride and Prejudice, but with a lot less class than Austen ever did, and it's such an obvious retelling, there's nothing original in this book. She attempts to make herself seem clever by saying to the reader 'look how silly Emily is, she's making all the same mistakes as Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, isn't that foolish of her', but it doesn't make her look clever, it just points out that she hasn't managed to do anything creative with the plot and instead is just retelling someone else's story.
Emily's surrounding cast are Spike, a journalist who also happens to be on the tour, Eddie, a sweet coach driver and of course, Mr Darcy. Very early on Emily hears Spike describing her unfavourably (hmmm, where have I heard this before?) and consequently takes against him, so, it should come as no surprise that when Eddie tells her a heart breaking story of how he was once mistreated by Spike she feels sorry for him and longs to jump to his defence, but has been sworn to secrecy by Eddie, sound familiar? Now, I admit that I will read most forms of complete trash and consequently I could probably forgive most of the horrors of unoriginality if it wasn't for the complete and utter massacre that she makes of Mr Darcy's plot. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those die hard fans who can't stand to have the characters of the original book messed with, but I do resent someone taking a character name and then putting completely different characteristics into that person. I'm sorry, I'm generally quite laid back about books and will, as I've said, read pretty much any trash if I'm in the right room, but I found myself resenting this books depiction of Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy would not spend long periods of time gazing adoringly into the eyes of a woman that he barely knows, neither would he start, rather randomly spouting poetry, it was all a little embarssing if I'm honest, but not, as Ms Potter intended, for the characters, rather it was embarassing for herself.
To be honest it was an odd, and very predictable book, it could have been a very interesting take on an idea, possibly nothing spectacular, but something a bit more original (along the lines of Lost in Austen - check it out if you haven't seen it by the way) but instead it was just uncomfortable, stilted, and I'm sorry Miss Potter, but a little boring, completed with an embarassingly contrived and rather rushed ending.
This said I can't really recommend it, and I definitely have no intention of reading anything else by the author. As a fan of new takes on classics I can cross it off the (rather long) list of things that I'd like to read, but sadly, that's about the best I can say about it.

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