I have mentioned a few times in different posts that my Year 8 daughter is busy reading Pride and Prejudice and we are doing it as one of her English Literature activities for the year. Well, we are finished. It has taken us some time to get through it so I thought I would write a post about how it went, what we think and if we would recommend it.
I want to start by including a disclaimer of sorts – My daughter chose this as one of her books, in fact she basically begged me to cover it this year because she is just a massive fan of Jane Austen. Before we read the books she had already watched all the Jane Austen miniseries that I could get my hands on, so she had an understanding of what it was going to be like. I also know that it is normally considered a GCSE book so I was aware it might be a harder read for a Year 8 to tackle, but she was a determined so we went for it.
What did she think? – She loved the Book and I really do mean LOVED IT. It would without a doubt be somewhere in her Top 5 all time favourite books.
She is really glad that we read it together, at times she did find the long sentences a bit confusing and challenging and we had to reread a few of them more than once but she was always keen to read more and more pages and she would often go and reread sections that we had already covered. It definitely helped that she had an understanding of Georgian society before we started reading.
Her favourite element of the book is the characters created by Jane Austen. She loved unraveling the characters, seeing how they behaved and interacted in different settings.
What did I think – It has been a challenging read for us. And by that I mean the incredibly long sentences and the vocabulary used, but challenging is actually good. And I do not think it was too hard for her or out of her depth. We worked through the book together and we took our time, breaking to discuss events, characters, Georgian society, how things were different then as opposed to know. We had lots of discussions and we really did work through it SLOWLY. I don’t think you can rush through this book, the customs are just so different, you need to take the time to discuss things.
We also used our reading companion to help us and we re-watched the Pride and Prejudice series and also the movie while we were reading the book and then discussed and compared them. My daughter definitely found watching the series and movie helped because she could visualize the characters and events.
We also did a number of activities included in the Twinkl GCSE Pride and Prejudice pack that they have on their site. Again I found this helped her, for the simple reason that she had to stop, think about the book and then write about it in her own words and that act of just putting events and characters into her own words helped her to order everything.
I am not going to say that every Year 8 kid should read this, because I don’t think it is about someones age, I think it is more about what that person will enjoy and find interesting. In fact my son (who is Year 5) kept hearing his sister and I talking and going on about the characters and the events to the extent that he actually picked up the book and read some sections himself. He then even joined in with some of our discussions and has already formed his own opinions about a number of the characters and the way they acted.
If your kid (and I am not going to specify age) enjoys more classical stories, enjoys learning about historical periods, likes discovering interesting characters and is not going to be put off because some of the words are new and the sentences are complex then please, please give this classic a try. It has been a long read, a challenging read but it has been a really worthwhile read.
It has been an incredible journey, one that I am really glad we went on and one that I know we will keep discussing for some time.