Pride: A Pride and Prejudice Remix
by Ibi Zoboi
In a fun retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, similar themes of class differences and the prejudices that accompany them are the focus of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride. The characters are of Haitian-Dominican background and the setting is the “hood” of Bushwick in Brooklyn.
Life changes dramatically for the Benitez sisters when the rundown property across the street is renovated by the upper class Darcy family. Ainsley Darcy, who attends Cornell, is attracted to Janae Benitez, a student at Syracuse. His younger brother Darius is treated harshly and with suspicion by our narrator who is also the protagonist, Zuri Benitez, age 17. The Darcy’s clearly don’t fit into the hood, but when Zuri goes out of Bushwick, she finds that she doesn’t fit in easily there.
This young adult novel explores the barriers put up intentionally and often unwittingly by the community and by individuals. It seems that Bushwick will be forced to change, but where does that leave its residents? If you are not from that community, dear reader, you will find yourself immersed in an unfamiliar culture with new words and customs. I found myself liking the characters and the warmness of their world although it is outwardly a much tougher one than the home community in which I was cocooned. This book exposes the assumptions it is all too easy to make when we are confronted with dissonance. Reading it will expand your horizons and make you dive deeply into your soul to consider how you view those whose life circumstances are different from your own.
Category: Young Adult, Romance, Fiction
Notes: Contains a fair amount of cursing as appropriate to the street language of the community
Publication: 2018—Balzer and Bray (HarperCollins)
Every book is a different hood, a different country, a different world. Reading is how I visit places and people and ideas. And when something rings true or if I still have a question, I outline it with a bright yellow highlighter so that it’s lit up in my mind, like a lightbulb or a torch leading the way to somewhere new.
If Janae is the sticky sweetness keeping us sisters together, then I’m the hard candy shell, the protector. If anyone wants to get to the Benitez sisters, they’ll have to crack open my heart first.
I’d look back at them with defiance and a little pride; a look that says that I love my family and we may be messy and loud, but we’re all together and we love each other.