I’ve been going through all of my worldly possessions, organizing everything, and purging way more than I ever thought I was capable of. Sometimes you don’t have to keep everything you have owned since you were 6. One of the main things that I have cleared out is my book shelf, I have a lot of books, I used to have more. Now I’m down to the ones that I know I want to read or read again. Therefore, I will be reading all of my books, in reverse order by author, because I’m a dork like that. I’m actually reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusac right now, but that will be a different review. Due to all of this cleaning and organizing I needed something playing in the background to keep me working and motivated. So I skipped over the book I am currently reading and got the audio book for The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet.
A little back story on The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, if you don’t know what it is. About three or four years ago a webseries started on Youtube called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I highly suggest checking it out, and follow that link, it takes you too all of the videos and spin offs in order. Way more fun that way. Basically for those uninitiated The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice told through Lizzie’s video blog that she started doing as a school project. It tells the convoluted story of her meeting the super awkward William Darcy during an encounter knows as ‘The most awkward dance ever’ and her sister Jane’s love life with the sweet and charming Bing Lee. The changes to the original story are amazing, the characters are fantastic, and I can’t give it enough praise. I’m just sorry that if you didn’t get to follow along while it was on that you will never get to experience the anticipation of each new video and tweet as they were posted in real time. Yes I said tweet. The best part of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries or LBD, is that it was multi media. All of the characters had twitter accounts, so you knew what Darcy was up to long before he ever showed up on camera, and you could see all of the sad pictures Jane posted on pinterest when Bing left. For the best post LBD experience I would suggest using this, that way you get the videos and tweets in order, not everything happens on Lizzie’s videos. Speaking of, there is also a book that fills in the blanks called The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, which I will review later, when I get to it. I’ve read it once already, totally worth it.
So now on to The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet by Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley. After the events of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Lydia’s story continues. I won’t give anything away but her ending in the show is a bit different than in the original novel and Lydia still has a lot of things to figure out. Does she want to go to college? How should she deal with the fallout of the Wickham situation? How do you deal with everyone around you knowing your name, story, and all of those things you would rather forget? There aren’t any hints of Pride and Prejudice in here, this is all new and fresh and feels more like a young adult novel following the life and struggles of a young 20 something than and Austen romance, but who said that was a bad thing. I think we can all learn something from Lydia, she makes mistakes and has to deal with the fallout, and she does. She doesn’t get an easy way. I feel like the original novel makes it just a little too easy on everyone, they all end up happily married and there are little to no consequences. It’s Austen romance, I love that book with my whole heart and I want my own Darcy, but that doesn’t mean it’s very realistic. This Lydia has to deal with her whole life blowing up in her face, making new friends and enemies, facing her demons, and learning something about herself along the way. I like to think that I learned something too. Like Lydia I studied Psychology in school (that’s not really a spoiler, they say it almost immediately) and I was sucked into classes, the material, and learning about other people just like she was. My life wasn’t nearly as messed up as hers but I saw a lot of 21 year old me in Lydia as she muddled her way through life without knowing really where she was going. She gives me courage even now as a 30 something to never give up even if you don’t know what your dreams are.
Listen or Read?
There are some books that need to be read, the visuals in The Book Thief for one make it something I would much rather pick up and read than say Beauty Queens by Libba Bray where the full cast audio and disc introductions makes it so that I will probably only read the physical book once but listen to it a hundred times. This one can really go either way. The main selling point for the audio book for me was that it was read by Mary Kate Wiles the actress who played Lydia in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. She never really goes full on Lydia in the audio book, but you catch hints of the character when Mary Kate says certain words. The actress herself has mentioned how much she liked the book because it gave a good satisfying ending to Lydia’s story, so you can’t really go wrong with that. I think this was also her first time reading for an audio book and she did a fantastic job, she reminded me of the voice actress who reads for Across the Universe, which I will gush about in a later review. Just know I’ve never actually read that book because I’m so obsessed with the voice actors and I own like 3 hard copies of it (it’s a favorite and one of them is signed, don’t judge me). So listen or read, it is up to you, but I do suggest giving the audio book a go, just to hear Lydia tell Lydia’s story.
I really enjoyed this book. I think it can stand alone as a novel, you probably don’t need to have seen LBD or read Lizzie’s diary but it helps for sure. There are a lot of new characters and the general storyline is explained well enough that if you skipped over everything else and went straight for this you would probably be able to follow along, even if you aren’t as emotionally invested in it as the rest of us. On the other hand, if you can’t get enough of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, have seen every video, watched all of Emma Approved (yes, they did Emma too, there is even a crossover character), read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, and still can’t get enough of your favorite Bennet sisters and the crazy world they live in then I highly recommend checking this book out. It’s available on Amazon, and Audible as well as other places where you buy books and stuff.
If you can’t get enough of Mary Kate Wiles, the lovely Lydia Bennet, then check her out in all the things! She’s pretty cool all on her own, and that girl can sing! Muzzled the Musical (which also features the actress who played Lizzie) and I Ship It are two of my favorite things she has done beyond LBD.
Go read it, rate it, tell me what you think!
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