Pride and Prejudice (Modern Library Series)

( 54361 )

Overview

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. "Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever," writes Anna Quindlen in...

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Overview

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's perfect comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. "Pride and Prejudice seems as vital today as ever," writes Anna Quindlen in her introduction to this Modern Library edition. "It is a pure joy to read." Eudora Welty agrees: "The gaiety is unextinguished, the irony has kept its bite, the reasoning is still sweet, the sparkle undiminished. [It is] irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be."

This volume is the companion to the BBC television series, a lavish production aired on the Arts and Entertainment Network.

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foun-dation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of liter-ature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

In late eighteenth-century England, a spirited young woman copes with the suit of a snobbish gentleman as well as the romantic entanglements of three of her four sisters.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste."
--Virginia Woolf
Library Journal
Austen is the hot property of the entertainment world with new feature film versions of Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility on the silver screen and Pride and Prejudice hitting the TV airwaves on PBS. Such high visibility will inevitably draw renewed interest in the original source materials. These new Modern Library editions offer quality hardcovers at affordable prices.
From Barnes & Noble
This timeless satire on English manners traces the fortunes and foibles of a family of marriageable young women and their suitors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679601685
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: Modern Library Series
  • Edition description: A&E/BBC Tie-In Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 515,710
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Though the domain of Jane Austen’s novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her family’s entertainment. As a clergyman’s daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called “The First Impressions” an early version of Pride and Prejudice. In 1801, on her father’s retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), and Emma (1815).

After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death on July 18, 1817. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Austen’s identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.

Biography

In 1801, George Austen retired from the clergy, and Jane, Cassandra, and their parents took up residence in Bath, a fashionable town Jane liked far less than her native village. Jane seems to have written little during this period. When Mr. Austen died in 1805, the three women, Mrs. Austen and her daughters, moved first to Southampton and then, partly subsidized by Jane's brothers, occupied a house in Chawton, a village not unlike Jane's first home. There she began to work on writing and pursued publishing once more, leading to the anonymous publication of Sense and Sensibility in 1811 and Pride and Prejudice in 1813, to modestly good reviews.

Known for her cheerful, modest, and witty character, Jane Austen had a busy family and social life, but as far as we know very little direct romantic experience. There were early flirtations, a quickly retracted agreement to marry the wealthy brother of a friend, and a rumored short-lived attachment -- while she was traveling -- that has not been verified. Her last years were quiet and devoted to family, friends, and writing her final novels. In 1817 she had to interrupt work on her last and unfinished novel, Sanditon, because she fell ill. She died on July 18, 1817, in Winchester, where she had been taken for medical treatment. After her death, her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were published, together with a biographical notice, due to the efforts of her brother Henry. Austen is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      December 16, 1775
    2. Place of Birth:
      Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
    1. Date of Death:
      July 18, 1817
    2. Place of Death:
      Winchester, Hampshire, England
    1. Education:
      Taught at home by her father

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately;
that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? How can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome!
You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty,
but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty."

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general you know they visit no newcomers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him if you do not."

"You are over scrupulous surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls;
though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference."

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters."

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come since you will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all."

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour,
reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

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Reading Group Guide

1. Pride and Prejudice was originally titled First Impressions. Critic Brian Southam notes that this phrase comes from the language of the sentimental novels Austen often criticized, where it connoted the idea that one ought to trust one's immediate, intuitive response to things. It is widely believed that Austen derived the later title from the fifth book of Cecilia, a novel by Fanny Burney, where the phrase appears (according to Austen biographer Park Honan, however, the phrase dates earlier, to a 1647 book by Jeremy Taylor called Liberty of Prophesying, and also appears in Gibbon's 1776 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire). Anna Quindlen, in her Introduction to the Modern Library edition, indicates her preference for the second title ("Austen originally named the book First Impressions; thank God for second thoughts!"). Which do you think is the more appropriate title and why?

2. The famous opening line of Pride and Prejudice-"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife "-magnificently displays the irony that suffuses the novel at both local and structural levels. What is the purpose of irony in Pride and Prejudice!?

3. Austen was writing during a time when novels in the form of letters - called epistolary novels-were very popular. There are nearly two dozen letters quoted in whole or in part in Pride and Prejudice, and numerous other references to letters and letter - writing. How do you think letters function in the novel? How do the letters - a narrative element-interact with the dramatic element (manifested in the dialogue)?

4. A number of critics have maintained that Darcy is not a particularly well - developed or believable character, and that his transformation is a mere plot contrivance. Others have argued that this suggestion fails to take into account the fact that the reader in large part only sees Darcy through the prejudiced eyes of Elizabeth. Which side would you take in this debate, and why?

5. Pride and Prejudice has often been criticized for the fact that it appears unconcerned with the politics of Austen's day. For example, in a letter (written before World War 1) to Thomas Hardy, Frederic Harrison refers to Austen as a "heartless little cynic" who composed "satirettes against her neighbors whilst the Dynasts were tearing the world to pieces and consigning millions to their graves." Is this charge fair?

6. Charlotte Bronte wrote in an 1848 letter to G. H. Lewes: Why do you like Miss Austen so very much? I am puzzled on that point. What induced you to say that you would have rather written Pride and Prejudice, or Tom Jones, than any of the Waverley Novels? I had not seen Pride and Prejudice till I read that sentence of yours, and then I got the book. And what did I find? An accurate, daguerreotyped portrait of a commonplace face; a carefully - fenced, highly - cultivated garden, with neat borders and delicate flowers; but no glance of a bright, vivid physiognomy, no open country, no fresh air, no blue hill, no bonny beck. I should hardly like to live with her ladies and gentlemen, in their elegant but confined houses. Do you agree with Bronte's claim that there is no poetry or passion in Pride and Prejudice, and her conclusion that "Miss Austen being ... without sentiment, without poetry, maybe is sensible, real (more real than true), but she cannot be great"?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 54361 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 55768 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2009

    Read this Book! It is AMAZING!!

    I just finished reading this book and was captivated by the way the cahracters and plot was portrayed. I will never forget this book and it is one of my all time favorite books. I have found that even though there were hard times for the Bennets, I want to have something exactly like Elizabeth Bennet and be just like her. She is now my all time favorite fictional character. I highly encourage reading this book.

    77 out of 109 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2009

    Love the original, don't like this edition

    I have read 'Pride and Prejudice' at least fifty times, and I picked up this copy so that I could have an easy-to-carry one for my bag. However I didn't take a close look at it and didn't realize it had footnotes - which, at first glance, one would take to be helpful - but actually are so obvious that they are unneeded. The editor does explain some helpful things such as card games but some terms which need no explanation (really, who can't figure out that se'ennight means week?) just interrupt the flow of the text.
    I also found the modernizations of spellings to be irritating and distracting - another unnecessary change by the editor.
    I would not recommend this edition of 'Pride and Prejudice' but would certainly encourage anyone to read it in its original spelling and with more judicious editing.

    30 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    HOLY MACKEREL!!

    omg this book is absolutely fantastically amazing!!!!!!
    JANE AUSTEN IS THE BEST WRITER IN THE LAST 200 YRS!!!!!
    my mom read the book and she said it was really good!!!
    i also saw parts of the movie w/ keira knightley in it!
    I HAVE 2 WORDS 4 ANY OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T YET READ THIS:
    GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    20 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2009

    Great book for EVERYONE!!!

    When i first heard of the book, i was under the assumption that is was an adult novel and that i wouldn't enjoy it. However, after reading it, as an 8th grader, for a challenge, i fell in love with it. I will be the first to admit that it took me 2 whole weeks to read this as where i usually only take about 2 days. It was a bit hard to understand at first, but eventually you got used to the writing and words she used. Overall, it is an epic love story and of course a classic. I recommend this book to anyone over the age of 12. It is simply amazing :)

    20 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Oh man, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy... probably one of the most famous couples

    The book was pretty boring and eh-ish, until Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth and she, in return, told him off about his devilish and rude nature. When Elizabeth found out how wrong she was, and Mr. Darcy wrote a letter back to her, with no traces of contempt, I was touched.
    It was so romantic, how they ended up together again <3

    I'm reading 'Persuasion' now, and so far, I'm having the same outlook as I had with 'Pride and Prejudice' (boring at first, then good).

    11 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2008

    Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - A novel that has survived the ages

    The plot of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen revolves around, well, pride and prejudice. This novel tells the tale of the convoluted romance of Mister Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth `Lizzy¿ Bennet. Basically, Darcy¿s pride prevents him from showing his true feelings for Elizabeth, and Lizzy¿s prejudice against men keeps her from truly falling in love. Many people have often speculated that Austen¿s inspiration for this story came from one of her own experiences. <BR/> I decided to read Pride and Prejudice after seeing the 2005 version of the movie in eighth grade. I loved the movie, but I loved the book even more. It has become one of my favorites! I would definitely recommend it to my friends. However, men might not be particularly enthralled by it because it is mostly a romance. Also, I don¿t recommend it to people who don¿t like slow or wordy books. I personally don¿t like books that are incredibly fast-paced, and one of the things that appeals to me about Pride and Prejudice is the fact that it moves fairly slowly. Still, this is not a boring book by any means. So much happens in its 61 chapters! <BR/> This story may also appeal to anyone who has ever been in an awkward or uncomfortable situation with someone that they are somewhat attracted to. Readers can practically feel the uncomfortable atmosphere in several of Elizabeth and Darcy¿s early encounters. For example, while at a ball, Lizzy remarks, ¿It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples¿ (Chapter 18). Darcy responds by saying that they can talk about whatever she chooses, but he makes no effort to stimulate the conversation, so they remain silent. <BR/> The protagonists of the story are Charles Bingley, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and the Bennet family. The leaders of the Bennet family are rational Mr. Bennet and foolish Mrs. Bennet, who thinks only of finding wealthy men for her daughters to marry. This is the tale of the courtships of the Bennet girls: beautiful and gentle Jane, clever Lizzy, reclusive Mary, silly Kitty, and headstrong Lydia. The story begins with the incorrigible Mrs. Bennet demanding that her husband introduce the family to wealthy Mr. Bingley, who has just moved to Netherfield Park, in the village of Longbourn, where the Bennet residence can also be found. Mrs. Bennet hopes that Bingley will marry one of her daughters. The Bennet family forms a friendship with Mr. Bingley, his sister Caroline, and their friend, Mr. Darcy. In the mean time, the Bennets also become acquainted with one George Wickham, Darcy¿s estranged childhood friend. The novel is filled with twisting and turning courtships, and deceitful schemes to both separate and unite various couples. <BR/> Personally, Jane Austen¿s Pride and Prejudice, is one of my absolute favorite books. I know that few teenagers share my taste in literature, but I recommend it to everyone. I would rather you at least give it a try and put it down because you hate it than not try it at all. Who knows, you just might like it, and it could become one of your favorite books! <BR/><BR/>Check out this and other reviews by high school students at www.notrequiredreading.com!

    10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Graham hated this book

    Super super loser book !!! I hated it !!!

    8 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    Pretty bad

    So bad could'nt get past the first page… $$$$$

    (")_(")
    ( •.• )
    (")-(") bunny rabbit

    8 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    For those who want romance without the sex

    One thing this book reminds me of is the inability of the modern author to address romance without sex. No doubt, even in the day of Austen, the characters would have at least been exposed to intrigues of the physical kind but the pitfalls of such are rightly disregarded.

    Instead, the book focuses on how we fashion love with a chosen partner. The idea that two people are so alike as to reduce the stress of life or so different as to meet the necessary stress needed to carry on with life is presented. It is not a story of how opposites attract nor is it a story of unbridled passion begging for unwanted pregnancy. It is the story of what people believe they want, how they discover what they actually want, and the humility BOTH sides must face in order to get it. It is not the story of one man chasing down a woman to the peril of allof his worldly possessions, social connections, or his own convictions. It is not the story of a woman who is solely dedicated to her job, consumed by her family, scarred by a broken past, or brainless. Instead, it is a story about a man who learns to understand the balance of his power in the world and the trust he can instill in another human being. It is a story about a woman who sees the world as it is and learns to ask better questions before rushing to judgment. The love they share is not based on the size of his manhood or the pleasing sounds she makes during coitus or the size of anyone's bank account. The attraction to one another is incidental and neither party began with a sinister plot or sought to ruin anyoneelse's life. It's a story of how circumstances tie two people together and what they are willing to do for one another. It's a story about how easy finding love can be when you're paying attention, asking the right questions, and getting over yourself.

    This is the only romance novel I have read because it is the closest to the truth of what it means to be romantic.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Huge Jane Austen fan

    I adore anything by Jane Austen, but Pride and Prejudice must be my all time favorite. Great plot, loveable characters, drama and action. Very good book.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2012

    Confused!%(

    I dont like this book but they gave it to me for free
    Also i dont how to get it out of my library
    :( HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2011

    Bad+copy%0ABad+copy

    This+copy+has+many+mistakes+and+often+looks+like+jibberish.%0A

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    An awesome novel

    I really enjoyed Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. When the book picked up speed I couldn't wait to finish it. However, the first fourth of the book was pretty slow and I didn't want to read it. All throughout the book I found myself rooting for Elizabeth. I'm not usually this drawn in by books. It proves that Austen created very realistic characters that I couldn't help but root for as if I knew them personally. On the other hand, she did a wonderful job at creating characters that were unpleasant. Miss Bingley in particular I couldn't stand after a few chapters. Again, I usually don't hate characters either so once again Ms. Austen did a great job in creating life like characters. My favorite part of the book was that it ended happily. I'm a person that prefers the characters all ending up happy instead of someone being upset in the end. Jane and Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy getting married made me very happy. For a while I thought Jane and Mr. Bingley weren't going to get married and I became a little nervous. Ms. Austen didn't disappoint me though, and she ended the book on a happy note. Basically, I enjoyed this novel a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Ummm...

    Well i just stated this book and it ia way CONFUSING. Im usually an advanced reader, but this book wasted my 7 past years of grade school trying to become a better reader! I never know whose talkig and always have to go back to fugure it out. There are so many big words and old english writing. I keep having to look up the words to know what they mean. Definetly would not recommemd this for any kid that thinks its a "classic, so it has to be good right!!" WRONG!!! Im not even past page 100 and its boring. And whats up with the super long intro? No one wants to read that crap. Its likes reading a king james bible, you try to read it but it just wont compreemd in your head. I will try to do my best to finish it. But i wouldnt recommend it to anyone. Well idk i gues i shoul try reading it. But i bet it will still suck. Thank you for reading my honest review.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    This book is Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat

    I love this book, i wish that i could get all of her books free.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Pride beats pregatist

    This book isnt that good but if u like politics or whatever

    4 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    HATE THIS BOOK

    THIS BOOK IS DUMB AND STUPID

    4 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    Funny book

    I have avoided reading "classics" ever since I graduated from high school because we were reading to analyze, not to enjoy. My thought was always, "How doe they know that's what the author meant? Aren't they just saying what THEY mean?".

    Once I decided to read this, I was hooked. Very amusing, great characters (some greatly stupid), written so that you can actually understand the language. VERY recommended.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2012

    Not the best at all

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Horrible

    It is absolutly horrible! It is not the story only symbols!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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