Comparing Books To Pride & Prejudice Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly

I have something very exciting to write about today. I finished book #45  of my year… before it’s been published. One of the many perks of DPI: some of the speakers have come bearing gifts of free advanced reader copies a.k.a. books that aren’t available to the public yet, but are printed and sent to magazines and newspapers and bookstores to be reviewed to build hype before publication.

So I don’t really know how much I’m allowed to actually write about this book, but I found a bunch of reviews on Goodreads so I’m just going for it. If I get a cease and desist from Simon & Schuster, I’ll take this post down. I’ll also be weirdly excited/flattered and hope it somehow leads to a job.

The book is called Don’t Get Me Wrong by Marianne Kavanagh. Overall, I liked it; it was much less predictable than I expected. The tagline touting “a Pride and Prejudice for the modern era” was a bit much, but if you can look past that ambitious comparison, it’s a great read.

The story is mostly told from the perspective of Kim, younger sister of Eva. The sisters live in London and are essentially abandoned by their selfish and divorced parents. Kim is fiercely loyal and protective of Eva – understandable, to an extent – and harbors a deeply-rooted hatred for Eva’s boyfriend/friend boy, Harry.

Though Eva and Harry aren’t romantic for the majority of the story, he is intertwined in her life, and helps her financially after her unexpected pregnancy with some mysterious, absent guy. The story follows these main characters for almost ten years, and Kim maintains a stubborn dislike of Harry.

Kim hated Harry so much, and that aspect of the story was a bit unbelievable. I kind of got it, Kim always felt that Harry was stealing her sister from her, and Eva was the only person Kim really had. But apparently because Harry was good-looking and wealthy, Kim took everything he said and did as a personal insult, even when it had seemingly nothing to do with her. So that got old pretty quick.

Kim and Harry’s relationship is complicated when Eva gets sick with cancer, and the two have to cope. I don’t want to include spoilers, so I won’t, but I did think this was a touching story about familial love and what it means to be a family.

The Pride and Prejudice comparison comes in (tenuously) because (surprise!) in the end it turns out that Kim had it all wrong, and Harry’s actually a loving, fellow who had a tough upbringing and worked his way up from nothing. Again, it’s pretty tenuous. I’m a huge Austen fan, so that rubbed me the wrong way.

Otherwise, though, I did like this book. I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it. I guess the characters sometimes seemed a little one-dimensional, but it was a great story. I also love reading about the Brits, so the London setting was a plus.

I highly recommend everyone read this [when it comes out] [later this month]. (← that makes me feel way cooler than it should.) ◊

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