Being 12 sucks. With all due respect to every 12-year-old kid out there.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a blessed age, right before the hormonal earthquake of puberty. If you consider it from a literature angle, though, it sucks.
At 12 you’re old enough to appreciate some of the greatest authors – Mark Twain, Lewis Carrol, Edgar Rice Burroughs, J. M. Barrie. Even better if there’s already a movie about it.
On the flip side, though, your experience is way too limited to let you recognize something really worth it, before someone spoils it for you.
And that’s how you happen to watch a mediocre Bollywood film, thinking what a great story they invented to talk about love, just to realize after a few months that it was only a musical adaptation of one of the greatest piece of English literature.
The film was ‘Bride and Prejudice’. The book was ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Enjoy the wordplay.
And here’s the 12-year-old curse I’m talking about.
You see, I already had the book. I bought it a couple of years before at a flee market, second hand and full of wrinkles, just like an old lady.
As it often happens to me, I felt an immediate connection with that book, as if we were meant to be together.
What do you say? Some girls feel destined to be with a certain guy, I feel destined to by with a certain book. Well, many certain books, actually.
Anyway, as I was saying, I already had the book. I just didn’t know what it was. Forgive my young age, but I had no idea who Jane Austen was.
Only a couple of months after watching the Bollywood adaptation, I started to read the book, totally by chance.
It was one of those holidays when you just throw books in the suitcase, without really thinking about it, so that you end up taking with you Terry Brooks and the stories of Landover, along with Paulo Coelho, Jane Austen and some weird book written by an Italian comedian, that looks a lot like a cry for help from a schizophrenic mind.
After finally putting Landover aside and coming back to a normal magic-less world, I put the magic wand down and walked into Hertfordshire to meet Elizabeth Bennet, smart, lively and witty, second of five sisters and with a really little inclination to conventions.
Written at the turn of the 19th century, this is a story that clearly shows how marriage wasn’t really seen as a social activity. It was more like an economic transaction.
It’s a time when the environment you grow in really tells who you’re going to be. This way, you can become too proud to admit interest in someone from a lower social status; or you can be too full of prejudice to recognize that someone from a higher status is actually worth your interest – and not just a borious fop.
Well, there are other possibilities: you could run away with that officer you fell in love with; you could marry the clergyman; you could accept to marry that girl that your parents choose for you or you could simply not marry anyone at all.
Let’s hitch up the horses, then. And when the carriage is ready, let’s pay a visit to the Bennets.
There may not be any indian dance, no exotic beauty or no indian marriages with five days of people singing in the streets.
In short, no Bollywood. But I promise, you won’t feel its absence.
If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads
If you want to buy this book: Amazon