My thoughts on Pride by Ibi Zoboi

When I first heard about a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, I was beyond excited. I’ve read so many retellings of this classic and I’m never bored. I always wanted to read American Street by Ibi Zoboi but never got the chance. When I Pride was released, the ebook price was somewhere near ₹300 and I just downloaded the sample to see if if I will like it. The first few pages were really good, and I found the audiobook in @storytel.in.. It took 6 hours to listen to the book and it was narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo who I loved after listening to her debut.

Coming to Pride, it’s about Zuri Benitez and her four sisters living in a crammed apartment in Bushwick, a black neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Enter the Darcy family, who move just across from the Benitez to a renovated mansion , with their two boys Darius Darcy and Ainsley Darcy. Zuri is fiercely proud of her Haitian-Dominican heritage and her neighbourhood and is trying to go to Howard University, a historically Black college. She is against the gentrification of her neighbourhood, fearing that it will be whitewashed in few years. And when the mansion across is renovated and a wealthy family moves in, she is all set to hate them with her whole heart because she thinks they will try to change her neighbourhood, increase it’s market price, making it more vanilla and less chocolate , if you know what I mean.

Sticking to the original classic, Janae and Ainsley fall for each other while Zuri and Darius bicker. I didn’t really love the chemistry, because it felt confusing to see Darius have multiple personality while this transition is smooth in P&P. It was very abrupt and felt like it had no strong base. There’s a lot of class discrimination and family dynamics. I love how Bushwick is discussed more and travels very much like a character within the book. With all the diverse setting, my personal opinion is the book could have been better.

Zuri disliking her sister’s relationship for a stupid reason, prejudiced against her rich Black neighbours because they are not authentic enough, and being very judgemental was enough to make me feel like she’s not the Liz Bennet I love.

Darius – my boy, you didn’t meet my expectations of Mr.Darcy. He’s way above there! Yes, Darius is socially awkward like the original Darcy but the similarity ends right there.

I rate the book a 3.75 stars, 3 for its attempt at a diverse retelling. . The extra 0.75 is for Elizabeth Acevedo’s beautiful narration.

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