Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck‑up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet takes readers deep inside Lizzie’s world and well beyond the confines of her camera—from the wedding where she first meets William Darcy to the local hangout of Carter’s bar, and much more. Lizzie’s private musings are filled with revealing details about the Bennet household, including her growing suspicions about her parents’ unstable financial situation, her sister’s budding relationship with Bing Lee, the perils of her unexpected fame, and her uncertainty over her future—and whom she wants to share it with.
Featuring plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new readers alike, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the web series phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like never before.
About the Author
Bernie Su is the Emmy Award-winning executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries for which he received a Streamy Award for Best Writing, Comedy and Best Interactive Program. Su is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego, and lives in Los Angeles.
Kate Rorick is a writer for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. She has written for a variety of television shows, including Law and Order: Criminal Intent and Terra Nova. In her spare time, she is the bestselling author of historical romance novels under the name Kate Noble. Rorick is a graduate of Syracuse University and lives in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
Sunday, April 22nd
It’s about 2 a.m., and if I were smart I’d be asleep right now. Check that—if I had a best friend who wasn’t wasted and pocket-dialing me, I’d be asleep right now. But I just received a call from Charlotte that went something like this:
(garbled noise) . . . “Either I’m drunk, or this party just came down with a bad case of Fellini.” . . . (more garbled noise) . . . “Why is my phone lit up?” (BEEP)
To be fair, I wasn’t asleep yet anyway, since we just got home from the Gibson wedding about an hour ago. My mom is currently in a state of glee (or slumber. Gleeful slumber). Because, according to her joyous monologue on the way home, all of her pain and plotting were worthwhile as Mr. Bing Lee, admittedly good-looking wealthy type and recent homeowner, has now met and been smitten by one of her daughters.
I, however, am in a state of unbridled annoyance, because of one single person.
Specifically, William Darcy.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The wedding ceremony was lovely. Outdoors, in the afternoon. Why live in a sleepy coastal central California town if not to take advantage of the weather for your nuptials? Our longtime friend Ellen pledged to love, honor, and cover her new husband on her work’s health insurance plan for as long as they both shall live, while Ellen’s mother sniffled her way through the ceremony—her sniffles only slightly softer than my mother’s wails. (Note: Ellen Gibson was in the same class as Jane since first grade; her mother and ours cut up orange slices for soccer practice together. Mom can barely hold her head up in front of Mrs. Gibson now, as her daughters remain tragically unwed.)
Of course, during the entire ceremony, my mother was craning her neck across the aisle to better stare at Bing Lee and his companions. Luckily, he didn’t notice, but his overly tall, stuck-up friend certainly did. He frowned at us from beneath this ridiculously hipster newsboy cap. Although I can’t even be sure it was a frown now. From what I saw of him that evening, his face just stays that way.
Regardless, the newlyweds kissed, the recessional played, and it was time to party! But before we could even get to the car to drive to the lovely restaurant overlooking the town that was hosting the reception, Mom had pulled Jane and Lydia (okay, I went along, too) into Bing’s path and got herself the introduction she’d been yearning for.
“You must be Mr. Lee! Or is it Mr. Bing? I know some countries put the last name first but I never know which!”
Yes. That actually happened.
Luckily, the gentleman in question just smiled, introduced himself, and shook my mother’s hand. Then, he turned his eyes to Jane.
And they never left.
“Hi, I’m Bing.”
“I’m Jane,” she said. “It’s so nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you, too.”
And then, they just stood there. Basically holding hands. Until someone behind Bing cleared his throat.
Someone in a newsboy cap. And a bow tie. (The bow tie I can forgive, but seriously, who wears a newsboy cap to a wedding?)
“This is my sister, Caroline, and my friend William Darcy.”
“Hi . . .” Caroline Lee said in a slow but polite drawl. While their friend Darcy might be a little on the hipster side, Caroline was a little on the my-hair-is-perfectly-shiny-and-don’t-you-like-my Prada-sunglasses side. But at least she had the decency to say “hi.”
“Bing, the driver will be blocked in if we don’t get going soon,” said Darcy.
“Right,” Bing replied, this prompting him to finally drop Jane’s hand and notice the rest of us. “I guess we’ll see you all at the reception?”
My mother could not get to the reception venue fast enough. She made my dad weave through all the traffic, run two stop signs, and almost cause an accident just so she could get to the card table first and fidget things around so Jane was sitting only a table away from Bing and Co.
Meanwhile, I was happy to sit next to Charlotte.
“I saw your mom finally managed to corner the elusive Bing Lee after the ceremony,” she said, between bites of crab puffs.
I will say that the Gibsons really know how to throw a party. It was a beautiful room, with chandeliers, old-Hollywood table markers, a jazz trio near the dance floor, and some insanely delicious food, as evidenced by Char’s devotion to the crab puffs.
My eyes immediately went to the table where Bing sat. Or rather, where he leaned over to the next table, talking to Jane. She blushed and smiled.
“And it looks like he picked out his favorite Bennet already,” Charlotte observed. “Jane has thoroughly charmed him.”
“Jane thoroughly charms everyone,” I replied.
“Yeah, but maybe she’s charmed, too, this time.”
I continued watching. There was a lot of blushing and smiling and nodding going on between those two. But . . . “My sister is not going to fall immediately for a guy my mother picked out for her. She’s too smart for that.”
But Charlotte just shrugged and took another sip of her vodka tonic. “I’ll bet you drinks that she spends the whole evening talking to him.”
“It’s an open bar,” I noted. One at which Lydia had already parked herself.
“Hence how we can afford the bet. Every hour that she spends with him, you have to fetch me a drink. Every hour they spend apart, I fetch you one.”
Just then, Darcy leaned over and said something to Bing, which brought his attention away from Jane and made Bing’s smile slide off his face. Like he had been admonished.
“At least Jane caught the eye of someone with manners,” I grumbled, “and not his friend. What’s his deal, anyway?”
“Who—William Darcy?” Charlotte asked. “According to my mom, he’s an old school friend of Bing’s. Apparently he inherited and runs some entertainment company, headquartered in San Francisco.”
“Oh, yeah, that bastion of entertainment, San Francisco.” (I have a dry wit.) “And by ‘runs’ I assume you mean he flips through the quarterly reports in between daiquiris on the beach.”
“He’s a little pale to be a beach bum.” (Charlotte’s wit may be even dryer than mine.) “And a bit too serious to be a trust-funder. Also, you should consider yourself lucky that your mother is not actively targeting him, too. The Darcys are worth twice as much as the Lees.”
I eyed Charlotte. “Why do you know this?”
“Mrs. Lu wouldn’t mind my marrying rich, either.” Charlotte took a final sip of her drink and held out the empty glass to me. “Oh, look, Bing is talking to Jane again. Why don’t you go and preemptively get me another vodka tonic?”
Charlotte was proved right about Bing and Jane. They spent the whole evening talking to each other. And when they weren’t talking, they were dancing.
But she was wrong about something else. My mother was going to actively target William Darcy. I saw the moment it happened. She was sitting with Mrs. Lu, gabbing away, her eyes on Bing and Jane. Then I saw her pump her fists in triumph. Mrs. Lu, not to be outdone, leaned over and whispered something in my mom’s ear. My mother’s eyes immediately zipped to where William Darcy was standing against a wall, frowning (of course) and typing on his phone.
Then her eyes zipped toward me.
That was when I decided to hide. I found a nice spot on a far wall, with some decent shadowing. With any luck my mother would not be able to find me and instead target her matchmaking onto Lydia, who was currently grinding against two different guys on the dance floor.
Of course, I don’t have any luck.
I was pretty happy by my wall. I watched Jane and Bing dance. I watched my mom try to talk to Darcy and get a literal cold shoulder. And then . . . I watched my steely-eyed mother march over and whisper something in the bride and groom’s ears.
“All right, everyone!” Mrs. Gibson called out. “Time for the bouquet toss!”
Oh, dear God.
This is every unattached person’s least favorite part of any wedding. Might as well herd all us single folk into a pen to be gawked at like an exhibit at a zoo: Look! Unmatched pairs, in the wild!
But I could feel my mother’s eyes staring daggers at me. I would be disowned if I didn’t participate.
I found Charlotte in the crowd of reluctant young ladies. We shared a shrug of sympathy.
Jane came up next to me. “Hi! Isn’t this such a wonderful wedding?” She glowed. If infatuation were radioactive, she would be Marie Curie. “I’m so happy. For Ellen and Stuart,” she clarified.
“Aw, Ellen and Stuart are so super cute together, it’s gross!” Lydia said from my other side. “But Stu has the hottest friends—which one do you think I should sneak out to the car with?”
Lydia finger-waved to the two inebriated bros she’d been dancing with.
Since there was only a 50 percent chance she was joking, I opened my mouth to say something that would hopefully cajole my younger sister into not banging some random dude in the car we all had to ride home in, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a bouquet of peonies headed right for my face.
Holding up my hands was a natural defensive reaction.
So there I was, bouquet in hand and a bunch of relieved single women around me clapping. I noticed my mother in the crowd beyond. She was giving the bride two thumbs up.
Next up: the guys. One guess as to which self-inflicted social pariah stood as far away as possible from the crowd but still got the garter slingshot into his chest.
We locked eyes. He looked grim. To be fair, I’m sure I did, too.
As the music started up and the dance floor cleared for this most terrible of traditions, I was actually feeling a little sorry for William Darcy. He was clearly not comfortable. He didn’t dance well—just sort of swayed in time to the music, and kept me at arm’s length like a seventh grader, his chin going back into his face like a turtle trying to hide. (I’m not a professional dancer by any means, but I enjoy a good turn across the floor with someone fun, and I regularly kick Lydia’s butt in Just Dance.) He also did his best to avoid my eyes. Maybe he was just a little socially awkward. After all, Bing seemed fun and outgoing, and Darcy is Bing’s friend, so there has to be something more to him, right?
I tried a little conversation to break the silence.
“This is a pretty incredible party, don’t you think?”
“If you say so.”
“Well, it’s what passes for incredible in our little town. How do you like it here so far?”
“I don’t, especially.”
Wow. Way to be open and accepting of my hometown there, fancypants.
“Do you . . .” I searched for something, anything. “. . . like to dance?”
“Not if I can help it.”
“Do you like anything?” I couldn’t help but say.
That got him to look at me. He was shocked, but hey, at least it was some response.
“Look, I’m trying here,” I said, “but that was basically my entire small-talk repertoire. So, you could either lob the ball back in my court, or we could sway here in silence for the remaining two minutes of this song.” I waited. “Your choice.”
He said nothing.
And I don’t know why. How hard is it to ask someone what kind of movies she likes, or what she studies in school? Basic chitchat stuff? Apparently for Darcy, lowering himself to converse with a townie-dwelling occasional dancer who appreciates all the hard work that Ellen and Mrs. Gibson put into a wedding like this was too degrading a concept.
So he just pulled his chin back farther and let the song end.
“Thank you,” he said, after stopping abruptly when the music faded.
No, Darcy, thank you for putting that dance out of its misery.
We separated. Luckily, the band struck up another song, and the rest of the partygoers filtered back onto the floor, masking any embarrassment. And I have to admit, it was kind of embarrassing. For him to not even pretend politeness? Way to make me feel like an unworthy troll.
But I found Charlotte by my lovely shadowed spot on the wall, and she had a way of making me feel better about the whole thing—by laughing about it.
“That was the most awkward dance ever,” she said. “Worse than your wedding dance with Ricky Collins in second grade.”
“True. Ricky at least had been enthusiastic. Although he did have to get a cootie shot before touching me.”
Charlotte laughed so hard, she got dizzy. “Whoa . . .” She closed her eyes. “Room spinning.”
“Yeah, I think you’re done with the vodka tonics for now. Although you won the bet, hands down. No contest.”
“Yup. Can’t wait to be invited to Jane and Bing’s wedding.” She smirked. Then turned green.
“Let’s get some air, okay?” I said. I didn’t tell her this, but the idea of Jane marrying Bing at my mother’s urging made me want to turn green, too.
Outside, Charlotte took some deep, easy breaths. The green faded from her face. We were about to go back in, when I heard two familiar voices from around the corner.
“Can we go home, please?” Darcy said.
“Come on, it wasn’t that bad. Could you try to enjoy yourself? A little?” Bing replied.
“In a town that wouldn’t know a Barney’s from a JCPenney? I don’t see how.”
“Well, you could try dancing again.”
“Because it went so well the last time.”
“It wasn’t that bad.” There was silence, and I imagine a sardonic look exchanged between friends that mirrored the sardonic look exchanged between Charlotte and me.
“Listen, you’re having fun,” Darcy said. “You have somehow managed to find the only pretty girl in this town. Go back in and keep dancing with Jane Bennet. I’ll go home and send the driver back for you.”
“Come on, don’t do that,” Bing said. “Stay a little while. I want to introduce you to Jane. Properly. You’ll like her. She’s . . . I’ve never met anyone like her.”
I had to give Bing props for that. Whether or not he’s good enough for Jane, he’s got good taste.
“I’ve never met anyone that smiles that much.”
There’s that Darcy charm. Finding fault with smiling.
“And you know what,” Bing continued, ignoring his friend’s attitude, “her sister Lizzie is pretty nice, too. I bet if you asked her to dance again, she’d say yes. Give you a do-over?”
Before I could even wonder if I actually would give him a do-over, I could feel icy derision coming off Darcy in waves, curving around the corner to my hiding spot and leaving me cold.
“Lizzie Bennet is . . . fine, I suppose. Decent enough. But why should I bother dancing with her when no one else is?”
My jaw dropped silently. So did Charlotte’s. I mean, seriously. Who the hell does this guy think he is? I didn’t really hear what was said next because of the rage flooding my ears, but Bing must have worked some magic on Darcy (or more likely had some dirt on him) and got him back inside the party.
“Wow,” Charlotte said.
“And to think, I was beginning to feel I had been too harsh on him.”
“Well, at least you have an out with your mom. All you have to do is relay that little conversation to her and she’ll never bug you about marrying into the Darcy fortune again.”
And that was basically the Gibson wedding. Charlotte was pretty tipsy the rest of the night, but held it together. I left her in good hands with her mother, her little sister Maria, and a tall glass of ice water. Lydia danced too much, and didn’t alternate water with her hard liquor and ended up vomiting in the bushes outside (very near where Charlotte almost did), and that was about the time the Bennet family decided to go home. Mom tried to persuade Jane to stay with Bing and have him give her a ride home (in his limo), but Jane was pretty tired by that point, too.
Tired, but smiling. A lot.
My mother crowed the whole way home about watching Jane and Bing dance together. Calling it the happiest day of her life. Which sums up my mother for you.
Charlotte was right, though. My mom was willing and able to dislike Darcy. She had found him pretty rude when she’d tried to speak with him before the Most Awkward Dance Ever (™ Charlotte Lu). I gave her a truncated version of our conversation while dancing, or lack thereof. I kept what I’d overheard outside to myself. Mom might be a little hyper-focused on marriage, but she’s also a mama bear. Don’t mess with her cubs. And under no circumstances insult them.
Charlotte was right about something else, too. At least I have plenty to vlog about when we record tomorrow. Although, considering the number of vodka tonics I fetched her (and the slurring pocket-dial), I may have to do this one without my bestie. She’s going to need to sleep her victory off.
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Bernie Su and Kate Rorick. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
By drawing on Jane Austen’s timeless novel, Bernie Su and Kate Rorick created a modern-day Pride and Prejudice with The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. In her diary, Lizzie writes about a year of her life and her experiences making video blogs (vlogs) for her graduate thesis. From Netherfield to Pemberley and back again, Lizzie navigates the dangerous waters of social propriety and relationships in the twenty-first century—both on and off the Internet. What starts as a simple thesis idea becomes a way for Lizzie to inform and reflect upon her life and her sisters’ lives. With the unexpected success and popularity of her videos, Lizzie suddenly finds her vlogs and her life prominently displayed in the Internet’s public eye. But as personal and revealing as the videos are, Lizzie’s secret diary reveals her deepest anxieties and most private thoughts over the course of a dramatic year.
The book complements the popular website The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and its accompanying YouTube videos, which can be watched either in tandem or enjoyed separately.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice takes place in nineteenth-century English society, a world with strict and specific social parameters. How do the authors transfer the storyline to our modern world? Discuss how the authors make the Bennets’ circumstances contemporary.
2. As the story progresses, we hear Darcy’s description of his perfect woman: “Someone who is together” (p. 103). He then lists a set of ambitious qualities that are nearly impossible to locate all in one person. How does this list compare to Darcy’s description in Pride and Prejudice (below)?
A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved. All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”
Do the authors modernize the qualities that Darcy looks for in a woman? If so, what is different? Which qualities do you think are essential for a well-rounded woman today? Are they different for a well-rounded man?
3. Mrs. Bennet tells Lizzie she is too idealistic, expecting everything in the world “to be as exact as it is in your head” (p. 141), and Lizzie admits this may be true in her diary. Do you think she grows into a more realistic adult by the end of the story? Why or why not?
4. Discuss Lizzie’s relationship with her parents. How do Mrs. Bennet’s priorities differ from Mr. Bennet’s? Do you think the Bennet parents understand their daughters? Give an example from the book.
5. Why does Lizzie refuse to settle for the job proposal Ricky Collins offers her? How does this proposal vary from the one he offers Elizabeth in Austen’s story?
6. Since many of the characters in the story also watch Lizzie’s videos, they quickly find out about any recent drama as well as how Lizzie reacts and feels about it. Charlotte reminds Lizzie that Caroline Lee “made sure she was seen as [Lizzie’s] friend on the videos” (p. 235). Does the characters’ information from the videos affect the plot? If so, discuss how the characters benefit from this information. Consider Caroline Lee, George Wickham, William Darcy, and Lydia Bennet.
7. In Victorian society, social status was based on family lineage and wealth; in this story, the elite may come from money, but they are also heavily involved in California’s technology bubble. Darcy’s Pemberley is a Google-like place rather than a large estate, and his aunt acts as a venture capitalist for Mr. Collins’s company. Discuss the relationship between the Victorian upper class and our contemporary technology companies. Consider how well this analogy works in the story.
8. Do you think Darcy was right to warn Bing away from making a hasty decision about Jane? How would you react if put in a similar position?
9. Lizzie tries to look out for both of her sisters but realizes too late that she has failed Lydia. After learning of the sex tape and watching Lydia’s videos, Lizzie realizes “that Lydia has never been told that she is loved exactly as she is” (p. 314). What lessons does Lizzie learn from this experience?
10. Like in Austen’s original, both Lizzie and Darcy are too proud for most of the book and hide behind their prejudices. How does each overcome his or her bias to give the other a chance?
11. At the end of the story, Lizzie finds out that Caroline orchestrated an incident at Bing Lee’s party so that Darcy would mistrust Jane’s love for Bing. Lizzie emphasizes that this “could have been cleared up by PEOPLE TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE” (p. 349). Why do so many of the characters (especially Lizzie, a communications major) have such trouble communicating face-to-face? What do you think Lizzie learned about communicating from working on her vlog project and thesis?
12. George Wickham uses both William and Gigi Darcy for their money, but knows the Bennets do not have any money to spare. What, then, is his motivation for manipulating Lydia and posting a sex tape of her? And why does he create the site with a countdown, rather than having the video immediately available?
13. Because of the communal nature of online video blogging, Lizzie has many followers and regularly gets comments on her video entries. Think about and share your thoughts on how the Internet (and the thousands of fans who give Lizzie feedback) plays an essential role in this story. Is there an equivalent to this communal network in Austen’s story?
Enhance Your Book Club
1. Watch a few YouTube videos at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (or, if you already have, re-watch a few of your favorites), and discuss how well the book pairs with the videos. Did you picture the characters differently? Did you enjoy reading or watching the story more? How do the experiences differ?
2. Try making your own video, by yourself or with a friend. Share your experience with the group: Talk about your favorite aspect of making a video blog or about any difficulties you had.
3. This novel places Jane Austen’s famous characters in the modern world. Other adaptations incorporate zombies or envision the characters’ futures. If you were going to write an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, how would you frame your story? Share, discuss, and try your hand at writing a chapter or two!
A Conversation with Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Why did you decide to write a novel?
Kate: We knew fairly early on that our version of Lizzie Bennet was pretty special and had a really interesting worldview. While Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice is a timeless character, she is reacting to circumstances very much from her own time period—marriage being the only option for women, entailed estates, etc. In modernizing Lizzie, we found that her story on the videos also translated well to book form – after all, we still read. Plus, there were so many things that we only talked about on the videos and didn’t get to experience, due to the limitations of the video format. In a book, there are no such limitations. We could be with Lizzie at the Gibson wedding, walking around San Francisco, or simply enduring her mother’s histrionics about her single daughters. The book let us fill out the world in a way that the web videos—and their meager budget—didn’t allow us to do.
Because the storyline already existed, what was your writing process like? Was it difficult to coordinate the story with the videos? Were you surprised at any difficulties or opportunities along the way?
Kate: The first thing I did when figuring out how to write this book was to create a really big, really detailed calendar of events. Where Lizzie was, when her videos posted, the movements of all the other characters, what party fell on what date and what happened there, who tweeted what when . . . It’s an enormous and scary-looking color-coded document. It was incredibly important that the book fit within everything we had already established. Even though I knew the story very well from having worked on the show, I found myself referring to the calendar time and again as I tried to navigate where character moments should go. On the one hand, it forced me to conform. On the other, it forced me to get creative.
This timeless story works well in our modern times, with a few minor adjustments. What from the original story was the most difficult to contemporize?
Bernie: We wanted to modernize the independent woman. Back in the 1800s there weren’t a lot of options in careers, and it was important to us that career choices be an underlying current to every major decision that our characters make. We didn’t want it to be about finding the guy/marrying the rich guy.
Kate: One specific stumbling block I remember coming across when we were writing the series was the time it takes for information to get from one place to another. In Pride and Prejudice, if you needed to tell someone something, you had to write a letter, and at least a week would pass before it reached its destination. Now, everything can be found out at once, thanks to smartphones.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries uses social media to give all of the characters a voice. How do you think this adds to the viewer’s experience of the story?
Bernie: The social media expansions adds three unique experiences to our interpretation of this story:
1. When the show was running, you (as a viewer) could talk to the characters and they could talk back to you. You could be a part of their stories.
2. You could explore more about the characters through their social media destinations; for example, Jane’s Pinterest gives you a lot of insight into what she’s going through during her arc.
3. You could experience the story from another character’s point of view. What was Lydia doing when Lizzie and Jane are at Netherfield? What was Georgiana Darcy going through before she finally meets Lizzie? We have that for you; it exists for you to discover and explore.
Discuss your decision to make the book analogous to the videos, rather than an omnisciently narrated book like Pride and Prejudice.
Kate: While Pride and Prejudice is in third person, it sticks pretty strongly to Elizabeth’s POV. There are only a couple of scenes that aren’t told from her perspective. As she discovers new information, the audience discovers it as well. If Jane Austen were writing today, I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried a first-person narrative. Lizzie’s voice is so strong in the videos, carrying it over to the book was simply common sense. This is her story. She has to be the one to tell it.
How is the process of writing a work like this, one integrated into so many platforms, different from the usual TV episode or novel?
Kate: From my perspective, it meant we had a lot more data to work with. (Hence, the big calendar.) Every tweet sent, every photo posted on Pinterest, every comment on the videos had to be treated like canon. It can be mind-boggling trying to keep everything straight and to navigate a story between it all.
Bernie: It definitely goes both ways. If you write that a character says they’re going to have lunch with someone, there’s an obligation to acknowledge and verify that event through social media. We have to be hyper-aware of everything the characters are doing at any given time.
What did you learn from this experience that may help you in similar endeavors in the future?
Kate: Personally, I learned that when you tell a good story, it can be told many different ways. And instead of competing, they can complement one another.
Bernie: I learned to embrace alternate points of view. It goes back to the adage that everyone is the hero of their own story, even the antagonists. Yes, characters need to serve plot points, but why are they there—what are they really like as people?
Do you have any plans to expand The Lizzie Bennet Diaries any further in other media? If not, would you like to?
Bernie: This story is timeless and has been told across so many platforms, but with all the multi-platform content that we do, I would love to try to make an app.
What’s next for Lizzie, Lydia, Jane, Darcy, and Bing?
Kate: What’s next in terms of their stories? Well, perhaps you’ll get to find out in the near-ish future . . .
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Very good read!
I absolutely loved it. Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite movies and I always love reading YA and NA re-tellings of the story. This is definitely my favorite re-telling so far and I love how fresh and modern it was. I never got around to watching the YouTube channel, but it is definitely on my to-do list. Check this series out! You will not regret it!
I held off on this purchase, thinking it would mainly be a recap of the much-loved web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but I couldn't have been more wrong. The book reveals a wonderful backstory and even more character depth to support the original storyline. And yes, "Dizzie" fans, there are even more wonderful scenes and stories with Darcy that we didn't hear about the first time. I travel by plane frequently, and often had to read on my e-reader without an internet connection, so I can say with certainty that the book works as a stand-alone, but that said, it's definitely even better if you follow the hyper-links to the videos as you go along. My only disappointment? It would have been nice if there had also been links to the supplementary videos with Maria Lu, Lydia Bennet, and Gigi Darcy to help follow along with the entire universe/series. But even that wasn't enough to make me dock a star from my review.
Lizzie Bennet! Recently, I re-watched my beloved YouTube series, "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" and immediately upon finishing knew I had to read The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. I'd read a few reviews on the book and knew it it was the perfect time to read this "behind the scenes" addition. It also helped as I was able to "hear" the character's in my head - or in some cases, Lizzie's interpenetration of said characters - merely adding to me enjoyment of this novel. If you've seen "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries," the plot here is no surprise. What is nice though, is that we get a lot of extra information that we didn't get in the diaries. We see Lizzie's interactions with her mother and father, which I really enjoyed, and more of Jane, Lydia, Charlotte, so on and so forth. Not to mention, we find out more detail of what happened at the wedding/first encounter with Darcy and the Less, the events that occurred while Jane and Lizzie stayed at Netherfield, and Lizzie describes her day spent with Gigi and Darcy touring San Fransisco. I do wish, however, that some of the scenes Lizzie had filmed weren't transcribed. Fortunately there were only two and while I cannot remember the first one off the top of my head, the fact that Gratitude (Episode 98) is transcribed really bummed me out! I would have loved to know what was running through Lizzie's head at that point. But alas! I did love that Darcy's letter was "taped" in her diary though - that was a nice peak in to his character. If you watched and loved "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries," I recommend adding to that experience with The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. It's a fun and quick read that fleshes out - though the YouTube series did a pretty amazing job of doing so on its own - these characters and while everything is still from Lizzie's perspective, we get to learn her inner and deepest thoughts about what is happening around her and pulls us deeper into her world.
If you are a fan of the Web series you will absolutely love this book! :)
I love this book . Really well written
Let's talk about things that are completely adorable. Such as this book. I loved the video series, and bought the book immediately when it came out, and didn't regret it for a minute! Couldn't put it down!
Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit I had never seen “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” before receiving the ARC for this book, even though I’m friends with the girl who plays Lydia. I know… I’m a bad friend. Sorry, MK! But I’m watching it now and you’re fabulous!!! ;) That being said, I’m kind of glad I went in without any kind of expectations because Oh Em Gee! What a fantastic read! I am so grateful I was given the privilege to read/review this book because I have NOTHING but good things to say about it. This was an inspired and creative retelling of a classic story that translated exceedingly well to the internet era. I found this was much truer to the original story than any other re-tellings I’ve encountered over the years, but without being completely ludicrous. Arranged marriages don’t really fly in this century… Just saying. I loved the way they updated and even improved Austen’s characters. Charlotte was my favorite improvement. She’s a bit of a drag usually (Sorry Jane Austen), but I loved how smart, sassy, and independent she was! Lydia was finally a three-dimensional character. THANK YOU. So often she’s written off as the annoying, selfish, and impulsive little brat of a sister. It was nice to see someone young and vulnerable underneath all of that outrageous behavior. Plus finding a way to set this in an age heavily dominated by the internet and instant access to easy communication was fascinating. Every piece of your personal life can be on display if you choose to share it. But we seem to have lost the art of communication. Simply talking to a person is a difficult task. I think the authors handled these themes and situations with great humor and honesty. This is a book for everyone. It’s laugh out loud funny and filled to the brim with heart. Austen fans will LOVE it. Bridget Jones Fans. YA fans. ChickLit fans. Etc. This is a MUST read. Run, don’t walk, to grab yourself a copy of “The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet."