The Strange Disappearance of Lizzy Bennet

Po 24 července 2023

(my comments on “The Strange Disappearance of Lizzy Bennet” by HelenaMira, originally published on Reddit)

I really wanted to like this story. The beginning of the story promised a good plot and I like neglectful!Mr Bennet and evil!Mrs Bennet as a fresh alternative to otherwise generally boring canon personalities. Mr Bennet unwillingly running all around England looking for his daughter and scheming Mr Gardiner were both also pleasure to observe.

And then finally Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy and it went down the drain. Well, not immediately, although I have to confess that their meeting was a great disappointment. There are situations in life, where no matter what you say and no matter what are your actual intentions, asking a girl to marry is just shamelessly exploiting her. A true gentleman would in such a situation leave his feelings and hopes for himself and help the girl to achieve safety and establish her in a safe position in the world. Yes, Georgiana needed a governess and I am quite certain Elizabeth could very well be one, and the situation can slowly and naturally arise to the “Jane Eyre”-like situation of a governess turning into the Mistress of the House (especially after revealing that she is a daughter of a gentleman, so there is nothing wrong with marrying her).

Although this fortunate scene could be probably silently ignored and pushed to the hidden wardrobe, where many fanfictions have hidden their less fortunate parts, it was by far not all wrong with the story. It seems to me that the author fell into that classical shock of every other fanfiction writer that although she hoped to write the biggest novel since Pride and Prejudice itself, there is enough plot just for a very brief version of P&P itself (124 713 words) or even less. But that is not enough for the GREAT and SERIOUS novel she was writing, so the length must be extended by endless repetition of the same three thoughts and endlessly analysing what has been already talked to death. And yes, the length (without any changing actual content) increased to twice the P&P size (223,347) as yet another example that the elimination of editors from the publishing process is an unfortunate disaster from which the literary world won’t recover for a long time. 220,000 words are more than Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” (215,839) and I have to ask you, Reader, does “The Strange Disappearance of Lizzy Bennet” have the same amount of plot and character development (or even deep thoughts)? It does not.

In the beginning, I was prepared to give an enthusiastically positive review of the story, but I am not still at the end of this slog, and I question my decision to start.

Category: literature Tagged: review austeniana blogComment fromReddit