This one, like most books I read, has been on my list for awhile and I’m just now getting to it. Maybe that long buildup of high expectations was destined to make me not love the book because it definitely wasn’t all I had hoped it would be.
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
I love a lot of little things about this book but they weren’t enough to really make me feel about the story, characters, or the retelling aspect.
Zuri is probably the only character I could connect with. I really sympathized with how she felt about her changing neighborhood, family dynamics, and her overall place in the world as she enters adulthood. I love her relationships with her Haitian-Dominican culture, Madrina, her hood, her sisters, and her parents. I love that she knows and defends what she is passionate about and has flaws that she recognizes and tries to change. I love that she values herself and refuses to give up on her dreams.
And yet, these are pretty much the only things I really love about this book. Everything else fell flat for me. I couldn’t connect with any other characters and I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other about the romance. In fact, I think the book would have been fine without the romance, though that cuts one of the only thin ties between Pride and Pride and Prejudice that exists in this book.
Although I didn’t care much about Darius himself, I did like the discussions his character brought to the table. He’s black, but he doesn’t feel at home in a black neighborhood. He’s rich, but he doesn’t fit in with other rich kids because he’s black. The discussions of identity and how we see and value ourselves, especially as we grow older, are present and important in this book and I think all readers would benefit from these portions of Pride.
I love Zuri and a lot the conflicts she went through, but I didn’t love the book itself. I’ve heard great things about the audiobook and am starting to regret not listening to the book instead of reading it. I think that would have made me connect with the book more and really get into it. Have you read the book or listened to the audiobook? What are your thoughts? How do you think this compares with the original classic?