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Pride Paperback – December 17, 2019
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★ “Stands solidly on its own while cleverly paralleling Austen’s classic… in a contemporary story about race, gentrification, and young love” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“A razor-sharp remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that deals in gentrification, racism, love, culture, and heritage, all helmed by intelligent teens in New York’s Bushwick neighborhood.” (Booklist)
“[A] lively and innovative Pride and Prejudice retelling (starring a fully rounded Afro-Latinx YA character)” (The Horn Book)
“Jane Austen’s piercing comedy of manners provides the ideal template for Ibi Zoboi’s shrewd, timely second novel...” (Chicago Tribune )
“Brooklyn’s gentrifying Bushwick neighborhood offers the vivid backdrop for this entertaining update, adding complicating factors of cultural identity and racism to Austen’s classic tale.” (Buffalo News)
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Mixing gritty street life with the tenderness of first love, Haitian Vodou, and family bonds, the book is at once chilling, evocative, and reaffirming.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story. This book will take root in readers’ hearts.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Zoboi urges us to examine the American dream to see if there is room within it to hold the ones we love.” (Ebony Magazine)
Praise for AMERICAN STREET: “Zoboi’s stunning debut intertwines mysticism and love with grit and violence…Fierce and beautiful.” (Booklist (starred review))
From the Back Cover
Zuri Benitez has pride.
Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon—Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape or lose it all.
In this timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
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Another topic I thought was beautifully handdled was the many facets of gentrification. This is a real and relevant issue, because many of us disregard what is different, or history that may not include us, yet is still so important. We tend to just want to improve things the way we think they should be improved (which is not always the best for everyone else).
Which leads me to one of my favorite parts of this book, the family dynamics of the Benitez's. They celebrate their culture identity, and the history of their neighborhood. They treat neighbors as family, and truly care about others. They support each other in such a beautiful way. Honestly, the connection is just inspiring. I would definitely recommend this book!
The writing of this is done in Zuri’s voice and so even when she’s being obnoxious, you get to go on the journey through the book with her. Zuri rides hard for Brooklyn and so as readers, this reads as a love letter to Brooklyn and not just Brooklyn in general, the particular section of Brooklyn where ZZ and her family are from. Zuri is somewhat of a poet, so there are a lot of poetry breaks within this novel, as poetry seems to be how the main character processes her thoughts and emotions and the poems are overall pretty good.
The themes of this novel go beyond class and prejudice and perceptions and preconceived notions to address the issue of gentrification of traditionally ethnic neighborhoods and how that affects the people who live there. Another major issue in this novel is race and racial relations between black people of different socioeconomic statuses and to a lesser extent between black and white people. I think there are some pretty heavy topics covered in what is basically a YA love story that make it pretty essential reading for young people of all races in contemporary America.
This was a slow starter for me as a novel. Whilst I could readily recognize the plot trajectory and characters, I found them all universally bland for the first third of the book and would have given this maybe two stars. However, I’m glad I stuck with this long enough to discover what was actually a pretty enjoyable read. It wasn’t excellent by any means, but it was at least a 3.5-star read overall and possibly even 4-stars if someone is actually in the YA demographic.
Zoboi sets her version in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn where Yuppies are changing the familiar landscape. The protagonist is Zuri Benitez who lives with her four sisters in an apartment across from a remodeled mini-mansion. A twist on our expectations is that an upper class black family is moving in, and the two boys are really handsome. Her sister, Janae, falls for Ainsley right away. Darius Darcy acts like he's too good for the girls.
So . . . we know what to expect. Zuri is Elizabeth Bennett and she will eventually fall for Darius, who unbeknownst to us already likes her. She finds out for sure when they both make a college visit, she at Howard, him at Georgetown in Washington DC. His sister Gigi also goes to boarding school in Washington DC, a minor plot device. He compliments her on a poem she reads at a college hangout when she notices him in the audience.
Zuri is a proud black American, and she's not about to fall for some boy just because he's rich and good-looking, and she's deeply offended when one of Darius's relatives implies exactly that. Zoboi overdoes this aspect of Zuri's personality. A boy from the projects, with whom she goes on a “not a date” says he's always wanted to “get with” one of the fat a**sed Benitez girls, and she doesn't hand him his head. It's unusual that Zuri is so touchy since Janae, the oldest, doesn't do that at all, nor do her little sisters who are just as boy crazy as a Valley girl. This could be necessary, however, as Elizabeth Bennett was notably head strong.
I liked the fact that the Darcy boys were black and were still considered Yuppi invaders. We know that's the case in some black circles where a lighter shade of skin puts a person higher on the hierarchy or desirability. It's never adequately explained why the Darcy parents picked Bushwick as their new home. They had lived in a smaller house so perhaps it was a matter of affordability. The grandmother, however, lives in what sounds like an even bigger mansion.
It's rather hard to keep the character's straight. One of the sisters is away at Duke, and there's also the owner of the apartment, Madrina, who teaches Zuri what sounds like voodoo. There are, after all, originally from Haiti. Zuri also has a sister named Marisol. I still don't know where she fits in the family.
Top international reviews
What the hell was that?
Look...I appreciate the concept. I loved the idea of a diverse retelling (or remix as the author calls it) of Pride and Prejudice! But come on, Ibi Zoboi completely missed the mark with this one.
The writing was terrible. The characters were terrible. It was riddled with stereotype upon stereotype. It was almost like watching one of those lame Step Up movies! All it missed was the music and dancing.
It was filled with body language description, which really gets on your nerves after a while. Like, Zoboi is trying to drill it into our heads that the characters are black. She rolled her neck, and put her head into it and snapped her fingers at him and the bass baritone of his voice and so on and so forth. Why? Why do you have to make these characters seem and feel almost unnatural! Contrived. Fake. And all the "side-eye" Zuri threw was annoying. The dialogue seemed forced and juvenile.
And the romance? I mean, let's face it, we all bought this book because we're waiting for that delicious Darcy and Elizabeth scene in the rain, right? Wrong.
There was zero chemistry between these characters. There was no transition from love to hate. It was I hate you one page, then making out the next page. Um, what? For such an important topic, I expected there to be a lot more depth. You're not just talking about diversity here, you're talking about racism, discrimination that exists within the same community, the difference between being black from the "hood" and being black but raised among white people. You're talking about underage drinking, underage molestation of sorts, but what did you do about it Zoboi? Nothing.
Just mentioned it in passing, while we focused on the Darcy brothers and Zuri's revolting hate and discrimination towards them. The characters were two-dimensional, the secondary characters had no voice. They were just there, somewhere in the background, but they were given no platform to shine.
It was very disappointing. Very unconvincing, and none of the romance or the relationships seemed believable. I mean, Pride and Prejudice had some crazy things happening, and there was a lot of that instant hate then love kind of thing, but it was always justified, and you need to take into account the setting that the original story was told in, some things were easily accepted back then that aren't now. So when you retell a story, you need to take into consideration how you reframe the characters and the events so it's relevant and makes sense.
It had potential, but was definitely a miss for me.
Foi muito legal ver os paralelos entre esse livro e a história original, principalmente porque eles foram todos apresentados de um modo super natural. Se você nunca tiver lido Orgulho e Preconceito (antes de mais nada, vai lá ler agora mesmo!), nem vai perceber que foi inspirado na história. E é assim que eu gosto de releituras! Não gosto quando forçam os acontecimentos para ficarem parecidos ainda que não encaixem na releitura.
Mas faltou romance. Tenho outra crítica para o livro, mas essa foi a única que me deixou levemente desapontada. Faltou romance, interação entre a ZZ e o Darcy. As cenas deles são bacanas, mas eu queria que a autora tivesse explorado mais essa relação de amor e ódio, em momentos mais intensos e talvez únicos. Fiquei com a impressão de que ela estava tentando não sair tanto da história original e criar cenas e interações completamente diferentes, mas acho que teria sido bacana. Na original, só as posições e classes da Elizabeth e do Darcy, além de toda a etiqueta da época, já ajudam a criar a tensão entre os dois e cada momento que o Darcy é mencionado ou aparece é mais uma razão para nervosismo da parte do leitor. Mas, na nossa sociedade moderna, é mais difícil criar essa tensão, e deu para ver que ela faltou um pouco aqui. O romance é okay.
Tem outra coisa que preciso comentar: eu queria mais. Queria que a história tivesse acontecido um pouco mais devagar, que a autora tivesse passado mais tempo em cada momento, explorado tudo mais, que o livro tivesse a mesma história, mas fosse maior. Foi um pouco corrido, de um ponto a outro rápido demais, quando teria sido maravilhoso se cada cena fosse mais aprofundada - ou pelo menos algumas delas. De certo modo, o Darcy e a própria protagonista ficaram bastante superficiais, o que chega bem perto de ser revoltante. Zuri tem uma cultura maravilhosa à sua volta, tanto dos seus pais, quanto da proprietária do prédio onde eles moram, mas seu desenvolvimento pessoal é raso e rápido.
Mas o livro ainda é um amorzinho e é ótimo ver editoras dando espaço para histórias com essa, para autoras como a Ibi Zoboi. Quero viver em um mundo em que uma releitura de um clássico inglês com protagonistas negros e culturas diferentes não seja uma surpresa ou exceção. Minha parte favorita de todo o livro foi a visão da protagonista sobre sua vizinhança. Seus poemas são ótimos também, mas o final foi o que ganhou meu coração. E não digo o final do romance, mas da reviravolta na vida dela e de como ela reage.
Quem ler vai entender!
E, só porque eu realmente preciso fazer esse comentário, essa capa e a diagramação do livro são verdadeiras obras de arte!