For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 20, 2018

review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

37677964Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

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. ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher via ALA18 in exchange for an honest review

Review:

Pride was such a delightful surprise that I read in one sitting.

I haven’t read the original P&P, but I have seen enough of the movies to get what the re-tellings are going for and what points they’re trying to tick off. 

Most re-tellings fall flat for me but Pride felt so relevant and fresh that it stands on it’s own and, imho, is at it’s best when it’s not adhering strictly to P&P. (As I said – I haven’t read the original so I can’t comment on how it did as a re-telling).

Zuri Benitez has pride – in her  Dominican-Haitian heritage, her Bushwick neighborhood and in her  family, but she can also be prideful – to the extent that she’s stubborn as hell when it comes to change and, in the way that teenagers are, thinks she’s got all the answers already and it leads to prejudice or at the very least in Zuri prejudging others based on what they look like or where they are from.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in to the new McMansion across the street, Zuri has an I’ve seen this all before & I don't want any of it response. New, rich people, usually white, move into the neighboring Burroughs, look down on local traditions, pushing out the long term residents and their way of life as they *clean up* the neighborhood. She’s already decided she hates them – sight unseen.

When the family in question pulls up in their fancy car and two gorgeous black boys step out (instead of the white family she and her sisters were taking bets on), Zuri is thrown for a loop. especially when one of the Darcy brothers, Ainsley, starts showing interest in Zuri’s older sister Janae and she finds herself drawn to his arrogant younger brother, Darius.

Despite this having a romance, Pride is all about Zuri coming to terms with change and her knee jerk judgement of others. And she fights it tooth and nail all the way. I loved her! She’s prickly, pigheaded and stubborn but she is fierce with a capitol F in her desire to protect the things that she loves. She does not put up with any nonsense or people talking down to her. She pursues her ambitions of college, poetry and goal of returning to Bushwick to help the people she loves most.

As I said earlier in this review, I think Pride works best when it’s not trying to tick of the P&P plot points. I think it was spot on with the family dynamics and Zuri's love for her family and neighbors. The vibrancy, the love, the realness shines though.

However, she and Darius didn't have the rapport that I hoped for. They were cute, and Darius turns out to be layered and complex on his own, but he’s just sort of floating around at first and is more broody/non verbal than arrogant or engaging in witty sparring – which doesn’t always work on page. I wish he was developed a bit more early on. That’s a minor quibble though – I liked them together!

And while the relationship between Ainsley and Janae is the catalyst for Darius and Zuri, I wish it was just left out entirely or developed better. Ainsely acts really weird at one point and Janae forgives too easily and we don’t ever get why. Again, minor quibble because this doesn’t take up much of the story.

I highly recommend this one for it's smart, fierce heroine, brilliantly adapting P&P for a modern setting, and overall fantastic read. Pride stands well on it's own but for fans of the original check out my friend Jen's review where she compares the two.

38 comments:

  1. I also really enjoyed this book, and oddly enough, my knowledge of P&P comes from retellings. I will sit down one day and watch an adaptation, but that's all I can promise. I agree. The romance, though adorable once it happened, was secondary to Zuri seeing that there is a big world outside of her neighborhood. I am pretty sure that Janae-Ainsley plot is a nod to the original P&P story.

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    1. It is in the original - and it's the catalyst for the whole story so I guess I should say developed more instead of left out.

      But he breaks up with her in the middle of a party because his brother told him to and then gets back together no problem??

      Not a huge deal because it's not about them but not a huge Ainsley fan lol

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  2. Great review Karen! I honestly don't know if I know what P&P is about. I haven't read the original or seen any of the movies so I have NO expectations.

    Zuri sounds like a force so I'm excited to see her growth!

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    1. You don't need to have because the story is so good that it stands on it's own.

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  3. I'm glad to hear you really enjoyed this one. Zuri sounds awesome. I've never read the original P&P either, but I like when retellings kind of do their own thing anyway, so it shouldn't stick TOO close to the original material.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It follows most of the narrative (that I know of from the films) but puts a wonderful modern day twist so the author really made this story her own.

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  4. I do want to read it, but contemporary variations are my least fav. I want old school Lizzy adn Darcy

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    1. This is definitely contemporary but I loved how she made it so relevant. But then...I don't read a lot of historical romance or fiction.

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  5. I haven't read P&P since high school. This sounds like a fun retelling.

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  6. This sounds quite good! I fully admit I have never read (nor do I plan on reading) P&P so this would absolutely be good enough for me hah. Great review, I definitely want to get to it at some point!

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  7. I've never read Pride and Prejudice but this sounds like a good read.

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    1. I think the fact that she made the story her own made it even better.

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  8. I love P&P and this sounds like a lovely retelling. I do admire a fiesty and strong heroine!

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  9. Wow. Sounds like a really good retelling Karen. Awesome review!

    xx
    Vanessa
    Blushing Geek

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  10. Wonderful review. I will be honest and say that I'm not a huge P&P fan. I'm actually not really a classics fan at all. However, the fact that this takes a fresh new spin on it has me intrigued. I will keep an eye out for this one.

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    1. I'm the same. I understand the basics of the story so I know what the author was going for but this story stands entirely on it's own as just a great story.

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  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I'm not a big fan of Pride and Prejudice so this really hasn't been on my radar. Maybe I should give it a chance though!

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    1. I don't think you need to have read or know anything about the original. It sort of gives you an idea of why she's telling it a certain way - but it stands on it's own very well.

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  12. Hmm... I was thinking about skipping this one (not a huge fan of the classics), but now you've piqued my interest. It sounds like the author gave Zuri her own story while trickling in facts that were relevant to Pride and Prejudice. Interesting... I'll think on it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. You aren't?? For some reason I thought you would be a classics reader lol

      I'm not - at all but this was a fun one.

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  13. Great review! I read Pride & Prejudice a long time ago. It was okay. Not my favorite classic. I don’t usually read retellings, but this one sounds very unique. I might pick it up eventually.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I'm not a huge fan of re-tellings (or the originals lol) but I like the ones that stand on their own even if you don't know the original inspiration and this one does.

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  14. I've seen this one floating around on Twitter in the last week but I'm absolutely stoked to see it's a lose retelling of pride and Prejudice but with diverse characters more representative of our communities. I haven't read anything by Ibi Zoboi as yet but desperate for a copy of this one now. Her writing style sounds a little like Renee Watson, who's an African American author who also writes about the loss of community from big business and investment. I can't wait to read this one, your review has me super excited Karen! Brilliant review! ♡♡♡

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    1. I think you would love this one Kelly! I read that Zoboi will be taking on other classics as well and I can't wait - even though I'm not a classics reader myself.

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  15. A book finished in one sitting? That's a strong recommendation for any book. And I am not usually a fan of P&P retellings (I so love the original and retellings either keep too strictly to the original or just feel off) so I was a little hesitant when it came to this. I didn't immediately preorder it but instead decided to wait for reviews. Reviews tell me I definitely need to buy as it'll be worth the money.

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    1. It has the basics - but the characters themselves are so vibrant and the story so relevant that I think it makes this re=telling a little different and special.

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  16. Glad you enjoyed Pride so much. I can't remember the last time I read a book in one sitting. I haven''t even seen any pride and prejudice adaptations but still really looking forward to picking this up.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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    1. I read really fast anyway but this one was so fun!

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  17. I love a good retelling and prefer when they aren't plot point for plot point but just have hints of it. Glad you enjoyed this one!

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    1. Re-tellings are a mixed bag for me. I don't love the classics anyway and so many of them stick to the original to a degree that it feels forced.

      but this author had her won voice so it felt fresh. modern and fun.

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  18. I've never read P&P either, and I've not even seen a single retelling that I know of, so I wouldn't even know what the plot points are lol. But I'm glad you enjoyed this one so much! It sounds like a great story with a lot of good things going for it.

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    1. I've seen a few of the movies but I haven't really enjoyed any of them lol so I wasn't inclined to like this one but it was fun.

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  19. this book just recently came to my attention because many people seem to love it! I definitely love how you make Zuri sound! Must read it now! Great review!

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  20. I have read the original story and I have to admit I didn't like the original. But I do tend to like retellings and this is a DIVERSE retelling so how can I say no? I'm glad you liked this one so much and because you were able to race through it you have me convinced I am going to enjoy it ^.^

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