For the longest time you could only have Pride and Prejudice OR zombies, but the release of the trailer for the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies reminded me that now I can have both! The problem is that most combos are great because of the shared responsibility towards the success. Take a PB&J sandwich. The peanut butter sandwich was doing just fine for almost a whole century, but then one day someone came along and thought to add jelly, and it was awesome. Ok, so I don’t know how that combination actually came to be historically… But I’m trying to make a point. Added point: see how easy it is to make things up Seth Grahame-Smith!?
The problem with Grahame-Smith’s jelly is that he was way too stingy with doling it out when looking at how he could change Jane Austen’s peanut butter sandwich. That PB was just so delicious on its own, so at some point Grahame-Smith must have gone with the theory that good things should not be messed with. And so he didn’t. Instead of giving us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, he gave us Pride and Prejudice with a itty bitty drip of zombie. And then he scraped off some of that zombie with a knife.
I may be too hungry to write this review…
Let’s trash the sandwich metaphor: to put it simply there really is no reason for the existence of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies other than to trick the world into giving someone else money for a book that has already proven to be a great success. Sure, with Grahame-Smith’s turn at the reins there may be an overturned carriage swarming with zombies on the way to Netherfield, but then a sentence later it has been dealt with and everything is back to the way Jane Austen would want Elizabeth’s story to be presented. Kitty and Lydia are being silly girls inspired by the vain worries of their mother, Jane is subtly falling in love with Mr. Bingley, and Mr. Darcy is unsociable Mr. Darcy (who now beats women). Where are my zombies!?
I have nothing against reading Pride and Prejudice again, but my disappointment here stems from the promise not kept by the change in title. I still can’t believe the same person who wrote Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter wrote this novel as well. I wasn’t blown away by that novel either, but I could definitely appreciate what Grahame-Smith did there by taking a well known story (this time a true one celebrated in history), and then going crazy with it by adding a completely new side to the story that played on the juxtaposition of these two vastly different worlds and genres. He stayed as faithful to Lincoln’s life as he had to be to make the story seem like a hidden side to a well known man, but with Pride and Prejudice and zombies Grahame-Smith was shackled by the words that came before him. So litter in a sentence about zombies here, a ball joke there, and viola, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But really just Pride and Prejudice with some childish notes written in the margins.
Fingers crossed the movie takes more liberties with the source material than Grahame-Smith did.