Yes, That’s a Giant Colin Firth Floating in the Serpentine || Jaunted


Mr. Darcy!

Yes, That’s a Giant Colin Firth Floating in the Serpentine || Jaunted.


This is just beautiful.  THIS is how you do a proper Christmas in July!!

‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ review

Death Comes to Pemberley

By: P.D. James


Vintage Canada 2011

A historical mystery review

In this P.D. James’s work, the shades of Pemberley ARE polluted…by murder!  The question is, will it be further soiled by having that notorious brother-in-law, George Wickham, the wild son of its late steward be ignominiously hanged for the crime?

Death Comes to Pemberley has some good material, but fails to connect enough to bring it home.  The central characters are immediately cleared of any wrongdoing, so the mystery centers on only those players who we never have a chance to connect with.  Hence, there’s not really much chance of readers getting involved with the mystery, no real suspense, tension, or satisfying curiosity.  The writing style does evoke the Austen novels, with several pleasing quote references.  However, many details are unconvincingly shoehorned into dialogue.  James could have better included this context as straight exposition, but felt compelled to have her characters say them, even when it’s completely out of character.  I don’t care how mellowed Darcy is by Lizzie, he’s not going around elaborating on social gossip he doesn’t care for instead of directly answering questions.  The events of Pride and Prejudice are well explained and used for access to the characters.  There are several points where James did convince me that I was inside protagonist Darcy’s head, which was wonderful.  On the other hand, Lizzie’s the heroine everyone wants more of and this book avoids doing anything with her.  Lizzie here is a key to discovering the workings of Pemberley, rather than a main character in her own right.  She’s utterly lacking in humor or even the dramatic flair she showed when Lydia eloped.  Moreover, there’s no enjoyable character growth.  Darcy’s realizations fall short, Lizzie has none, and there are no fleshed out scenes with them together or with their children to appreciate even changes in relationship dynamics.  Only those characters distanced to the readers can claim even the possibility of character change, which again is difficult to care about from afar.

James’s description of the intricacies of Pemberley is interesting.  The best things in this book are the slight extensions of Austen’s original work, such as the fate of Mary Bennet and the evolved relations between Lizzie and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  The way James contrives to bring in plausible connections with characters from other Austen novels is a close second.  However, a mystery without suspense, a Pemberley without a strong Lizzie, and an Austen attempt without humor are each cause enough for a failed novel.  Death Comes to Pemberley brought all three.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – YouTube

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – YouTube.


These things are fantastic!  About 3.5 minute increments of a modern day Lizzie Bennet video blog.  She has two sisters.  Jane is spot-on Austen and Lydia is hilariously updated to modern obnoxious boy-crazy.  She dresses up and does voices for her parents.  I think my all time favorite things are when she’s being her mother.  It makes me smile and is surprisingly hard to stop watching, considering I know where it’s going.  Perhaps it’s the editing touches (done by Charlotte), or the true-to-life sibling interactions, or the minimal costumes, or the stronger connection to the character in this setting.  After all, I am also a ‘DREADED MIDDLE CHILD’, etc.  It’s a wonderful, fun pick-me-up that makes me smile.

Disney Crossover Compatibility

Today I attended birthday celebrations that included the task of assigning Disney princesses to new partners, outside of the Disney/cartoon universe.  The results:


Snow White: Mr. Collins of Pride and Prejudice.  He needs someone to appreciate his gardening, keep his house, be meek with an older lady patroness, and help cheer him up.  She needs someone who’ll let her tell him what to do in a domestic setting and encourage her to support him.  Also, they both appreciate retelling stories.


Cinderella: Raj of The Big Bang Theory.  They both cook and do gentile-variety housework.  If anyone can appreciate geekery it’s a girl whose prior entertainment has been dancing mice and birds.  Raj might mess things up, but he’ll actually do things with her and won’t order her around.  They’d probably make each other laugh and engage in odd activities.


Aurora: George Weasley from Harry Potter.  McGonagall taught him how to dance, so he should be an expert.  He’ll love introducing someone gullible into society and make her smile.  She’ll be a calming influence and be easily entertained.


Ariel: J.D. from Scrubs.  They both indulge great optimism and fantasies, and fall in love ridiculously fast.  They also both have strong attachments to the human body.


Belle: Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility.  They’re both intellectuals with very strong moral principles.  She has the high spirits and fiestiness that can bring him out and make him smile the way Marianne did, while Belle won’t need any near-death experiences to appreciate Brandon’s nobility and interests.


Pocahontas: the new version of James Bond.  She could be a grounding influence for him and be protective without making him defensive.  He could bring her around the world and understand her political background without exoticizing her.


Megara (Hercules): the prince from Much Ado About Nothing as played by Denzel Washington.  Meg has trust issues, so she needs a great communicator who can make her feel valued without going overboard with cheesy things.  Also, she needs someone able to verbally spar with her.  The prince expresses himself magnificently, is a tactful genius, and has enough tricks up his sleeve to match Meg.


Jasmine: Westley of The Princess Bride.  She needs someone who can keep up with her actively and who understands independence.  Also, someone who can take her sarcasm and losing her temper.  Westley deserves a girl who will support him guns-a-blazing and be able to handle delicate fighting situations.


Esmerelda: Inigo Montoya of The Princess Bride.  Esmerelda is a physical genius who knows how to dance, fight, and disappear.  The only one who can match her is the wizard of swordsmanship.  Moreover, they both understand being marginalized by society.  They are passionate and have strong personal causes.  Also, then they could double date with Jasmine and Westley.


Mulan: Remus from Harry Potter.  Mulan needs someone who can go along with her plans while still making her feel beautiful and belonging.  Remus needs someone tough enough to stand up under the werewolf revelation, and someone who can make him laugh and relax.


Also, we wanted the boys from Psych to be involved, so:


Princess Fiona (Shrek): Gus.  They’re both very robust, have specific things that they like and are interested in, and are able to roll with the punches.  Also, they’d fight really well.


Odette (Swan Princess): Shawn, provided that they grew up together in the same circumstances as Odette and Derek do in the film.  Like Derek, Shawn has no idea what to say around women he cares about, he likes secrets, but he’s also very dedicated and fully committed to following his own instincts and intuitions in spite of what anyone else says.


Hot Cock and the Breech Flaps!

Mitzi Szereto,
Pride & Prejudice: Hidden Lusts
(Cleis Press, 2011)

Mitzi Szereto’s controversial new take on Jane Austen’s classic focuses on what goes on beneath the women’s skirts and behind the men’s breech flaps. Moreover, Pride & Prejudice: Hidden Lusts includes a range of erotic encounters spanning from homosexual indulgences and sado-masichistic desires to masturbation and oral sex.

In its favor, this novel uses Szereto’s spicy additions to explore and elaborate on the character’s motivations, thus legitimately reinterpreting Jane Austen’s story rather than simply jamming in the erotica. In fact, Szereto’s often humorous timing inserts itself throughout the book to include erotic flashbacks, as well as current sexual scenarios. The way Szereto’s new material can completely revitalize a well-known scene when inserted in the middle of the dialogue is delightful.

On the other hand, Szereto worked to keep the individual characterizations close to the original, while neglecting to keep the dynamics between her more sexual versions consistent. Unfortunately, this lack of proportion keeps this work from really coming into its own. For example, while certain characters like Lydia have canon traits that make her a much easier target for additional raunchiness, capitalizing on that while keeping Lizzie’s original modesty strong enough that it often affects her enjoyment of her pleasures creates an extreme distance between the two sisters’ behavior that goes much further than the book. The result is that while the individual story lines keep a ring of validity, whenever they intersect things cease to make sense. Since a main plot point in any Pride & Prejudice adaptation hinges on Lydia performing an indiscretion that disgraces her entire family, it is necessary to keep her prior behavior within society’s expectations, if just barely. To keep society’s expectations, Lizzie’s expectations, so much more conservative than Lydia’s behavior for the majority of the book makes her “disgracing” action with Mr. Wickham insufficient for the effect it needs to have on the plot.

Also, when dealing with smaller and more trifling matters where people push the boundaries of acceptability, Szereto constantly apologizes for it. Either Miss Bingley’s new, racy clothes are scandalous, or they are, like Lydia in Austen, tolerable, if rather shaming. To have frequent explanations for how things like Miss Bingley’s clothes are actually scandalous, but there are reasons why people say nothing, seems like apologizing for taking the eroticism too far. These issues with consistency make it difficult to stay immersed in the story at times. Pride & Prejudice: Hidden Lusts should have either pushed as hard as it did against the breech flap of acceptable behavior as it did with Lydia, or it should have kept all its plot lines from thrusting too far. If the acceptable level of “hidden lusts” had been kept in proportion in this work, it would have really made an impact.

In short, Pride & Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is well worth the time, but is not as credible or engrossing as it could have been. Szereto’s imagination will surprise, her interpretations will intrigue, and her continual focus on breech flaps will eventually bring into existence a band called Hot Cock and the Breech Flaps made up of guys who wear regency-style breeches and at the end of every show tear open their breech flaps to display things like plastic pineapples and harmonicas (at least in a perfect world). It’s worth reading just to find out what else might pop up.