First of all, there's a typo.
Dammit, Jane Austen, you should be ashamed of yourself! Did Microsoft 1809 not have grammar check?! Did you text the book to your editor? With you being such a fancy writer and all, you'd think you'd be able to capitalize the "t" at the start of that sentence on page 20 in my Barnes & Noble Classics edition.
What's that you say, boss? That's a publishing error, not Jane's error? And the publisher is Barnes & Noble, the company who owns us? Which means they sign my paychecks? Which means...
*whistles nonchalantly and walks away from the computer*
Erm, instead, let's talk about how Jane Austen throws an EPIC SLEEEEEEEEEEPOVER PARTYYYYYYYYY. Here's how it all begins...
The Bennet girls are with their mom at their family friends' house, The Lucas's. At this gossip-y gathering, everyone's trash talking Mr. Darcy.
"Mr. Darcy smells worse than the droppings of my prize horse, Trinka Von Der Dur Deen."
"Mr. Darcy is a zit upon the flawless skin of LIFE."
"Mr. Darcy looks like cabbage. Cabbage on a cloudy day."
"Mr. Darcy is butt fuzz."
It's at this get-together that we meet Charlotte, Lizzy's witty and practical BFF. Charlotte is 27, which probably means she's an old maid in Jane Austen's time, but in modern-day New York City, she's the perfect age to swing from a chandelier in nothing but gogo boots and a meat dress. The problem with the meat dress is it attracts roaches before you can even scream "Kowabunga" and hide a few chandelier crystals in the lining of your Bacon Bra. NEVERMIND.
Guess what, y'all: AUSTEN BROKE A RULE.
Teen Novel Rule #10: Our protag's bestie must be less clever than our protag.
Bzzzz, THUMP. That's the sound of Jane Austen crying into her hair dryer, then falling down.
Janey, why did you make Charlotte so cool? Lizzy's our gal, remember? We can't be rooting for her AND her best friend! Too much rooting! More rooting than you could fix with a gallon of peroxide! Why, oh why, Jane, do you make Charlotte say cool stuff like, "Jane Bennet—you eldest and prettiest and nicest Bennet sister of them all—if you don't start telling Mr. Bingley how you feel about him, he's going to get bored with you and play single-player Monopoly on his iPad all day!" and, "It's best not to get to know your husband before you marry him, because you'll just be disappointed."
See, she's a perfect mishmash of great advice and hilarious advice! LIKE ME, but way better. LIKE ME, completely! She's cool, and funny, and wonderful and—
***WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED POST BECAUSE OF AN UNFORESEEN PRINCESS ATTACK. IN THE MEANTIME, LET'S CONSIDER WHY JANE AUSTEN MADE CHARLOTTE SO AWESOME THAT READERS WANT TO BE LIKE HER. (SEE RULE #4)***
Do you think Jane Austen has something up her sleeve on this one? Is Charlotte actually a giant booger—like literally a pile of mucus, or maybe a flea or something—but Austen doesn't tell us Char's not a human till Chapter 20? Well, until otherwise noted, Rule 10 has been smashed to bits by the wild and rebellious Ms. Austen. Huzzah!
Next we learn that the youngest Bennet girls—Lydia and Catherine—are stupid hussies. What! Those are Mr. Bennet's words, not mine! Okay, they're mine, but basically that's what he said. Anyway, they're in love with some soldiers in sexy uniforms and it's all they talk about.
Then Janey Austen comes right out and says that Darcy's got a serious case of palm sweats for Lizzy. What?! Where did this come from? Suddenly, Darcy's at a party with Lizzy, and he's following her around and listening to all of her conversations. Awesome.
Teen Novel Rule #11: Make the protag's man a little creepy.
I have no idea why this is a rule, but it is. I just read a teen novel in which the cute guy turns into a wolf and watches the protag get naked through her bedroom window. This rule is icky, gross, disgusting, and repulsive, like a flame broiled barf burger. If I had a crepe for every creep, I'd be, I'd be, I'D BE...thrilled.
Finally, Lizzy forces him to speak by asking him to affirm how clever she is. How clever, Lizzy! *thinks about it* Wow. So... many... levels... of... clever... *brain explodes*
Darcy snaps back that all women are clever when they're talking about balls, (the dancing kind, people. Eww, that's not what I—blarg), but then admits to a Bingley sister that he's interested in Lizzy.
Mr. Darcy is a man of many layers. Not only is he playing it creepy, but he's playing it coy, too. He is like a seven-layer cake made of poo. He is a pile of Uno cards that all suck. He is a jellyfish that stings with all the things. He is, in fact, butt fuzz.
With Charlotte's stellar advice in mind, Jane goes to Bingleberry's house to play. But it rains on the way there, and she gets sick. The next day, the Bennets get a telegram saying that Jane's bedridden. Lizzy decides to walk all the way to Bingley's to see her, and her hussy sisters accompany her as far as the town the soldiers are staying in. By the time Lizzy gets to Bingley's, she's a sweaty, muddy mess.
Teen Novel Rule #12: Our lady protag must get dirty at least once. Because it's hot.
Lizzy spends the day with Jane, Bingley, a silent Mr. Darcy, and the Bingley sisters. Jane's condition doesn't improve. Finally, the Bingley sisters offer to put up Lizzy for the night. UH, WHAT?!
Teen Novel Rule #13: Our main girl and her crush should get mixed up in some kind of situation where they're FORCED to spend time together.
Sleepover sleepover sleepover!!!!!!!! Okay here's what's going to happen: The Bingleys and Jane and Darcy and Lizzy will sit and talk in a circle and roast marshmallows and get snuggly on the couch and watch scaries and see a spider and Darcy will kill it and then when everyone else is asleep Darcy and Lizzy will talk about really deep stuff like hamburgers and then they'll kiss and then they'll be IN LOVE. FOREVER.
To be continued...
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Jane Austen's teen novel score card:
Wins: 9, Losses: 3, Undecideds: 1