Mr. Darcy’s Diary
by Amanda Grange
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a male character when written by a woman must be in need of masculinity. The representation of the male characters in the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice are, in my opinion, horribly maligned in Mr. Darcy’s Diary.
Mr. Darcy, at the pen of Ms. Grange, becomes surprisingly and terribly feminine in both demeanor and behavior. His diary entries show none of the strength of character that he displays in the original. He is overly emotional for his character, which makes no sense as his fundamental character is reserved. He also seems to have no penetration to other people’s thoughts and opinions. I read several excerpts aloud to my husband and brother and they both agreed that Mr. Darcy’s character did not feel like a man but rather a slightly masculine woman.
Bingley is portrayed as a flirt and a fop who falls in love with Jane because falling in love is what he does as a hobby. Bingley is described as having “a pleasant countenance and easy, unaffected manners” but not a flirt. In fact, characters in Austen’s writing described as such are nearly always of suspect character and/or wisdom. To place Bingley in this light is to set him alongside William Elliot, John Willoughby and even the infamous George Wickham. Charles Bingley does not deserve such treatment. He is much more easy going than Mr. Darcy, but never was it intimated that he was inconstant in his affections.
The writing itself is not impressive. By “not impressive” I mean, “incredibly sub-par”. The vocabulary was minimal, the style was unpolished, and the plot was not significantly added to. All this is thrown into stark relief by the fact that Grange preserves a good amount of Austen’s original writing in her text. I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. She is one of my favorite authors. When you intersperse your writing with Austen’s, you had better be a stellar author or it will reflect poorly on you. She has chosen…poorly.
Fan fiction is an interesting genre. At its best, it takes beloved characters and thoughtfully considers how they would react in a new set of circumstances. At its worst, it shows little to no respect to the source material and fundamentally misunderstands the characters. Unfortunately, Mr. Darcy’s Diary falls far on the “worst” end of the spectrum. As I was reading this book, I could feel my ire grow line by line and paragraph by paragraph. By the end of it, I had what I think of as a cordial hatred of the book.
I would not recommend this book to anyone.