Friday, December 9, 2011

"Mr. Darcy's Diary" by Amanda Grange Review

While pondering on what I might next review for you, I came to a halt at a mental crossroad. The problem was choosing how to approach these various (and might I add numerous) "Darcy point of view" novels. At one point it seemed that a new one was being published at the end of every month. Rather than deliberately drown myself in all of them, however, I chose to read the ones that randomly fell in my path. The names "Darcy" and "Rochester" often stick out to me when I'm wandering through the quiet bookshelves of Barnes & Noble, so I was sure that some sort of strange fate would put the right spin-offs in my hands. I ended up reading only three of the thousand. At first I thought of reviewing them in the order of "greatest to least" or vice versa. In the end I figured that taking that route might spoil the surprise somehow, so I went with the quaint option of just reviewing them in the order in which I read them. Simple enough?

Mr. Darcy's Diary came to me during my tenuous Pride and Prejudice obsession. Surprised? Well yes, even I--the sarcastic and gothic Bronte-lover--had a phase of deep infatuation with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. I found the book in the obscure corners of the fiction section that often produce the best novels, and without a thought I coughed up the ten dollars and eagerly started the first pages during the car ride home. 

Most of my reviews have a synopsis, but I find that Mr. Darcy's Diary is obviously self-explanatory. It is literally the diary of Fitzwilliam Darcy, complete with dates and even the rather sporadic language common with diaries. 

First instinct: how much cheesier could it get? Even I (a mere twelve-year-old at the time) could have thought of this! I was merely surprised that no one had tried it sooner. In truth, the novel was neither a hideous failure nor a profound success. More than anything, it could only be described as mediocre. The language was simple, often even bordering too simple. The emotion was rather shallow. The plot was...mehh. 

After letting the novel actually sink in I'd like to say that my opinions changed, but in reality they only strengthened. I forgot the book completely for a while and was even reluctant to give it the second read I always feel every book deserves. There's nothing really wrong with Mr. Darcy's Diary, but it doesn't push any boundaries. It doesn't add anything new that the reader couldn't have already guessed for themselves. The diary idea is a double edged sword. While it suggests a deeper and more revealing look into Darcy's life, the language functions too much like a diary. The details are vague, as if Darcy really waited to write about his experiences days after they had already happened and the exact words were forgotten. Sure, I felt the surface of Darcy's inner turmoil, but I never reached the passionate depths. I couldn't feel the physical, emotional, and intellectual longing that I had so hoped to find in a Darcy spin-off. There was nothing exciting to keep me turning the page.  

Amanda Grange gave a valiant effort, and the one thing I did love was the use of dates in order to form a mental timeline. But, unfortunately, it was much too copy-pasted and cut-out to merit any sort of groundbreaking or emotionally appealing reward. It did not leave me with that lovely feeling of satisfaction, but rather made me want to search for something more. "This is like the rough draft of what I was looking for," I remember saying. "I need to find the fully-developed and final copy." 

P.S: For those of you who are still interested in giving the novel a try, there's a little tidbit you might want to know. The novel comes in paperback and hardcover. The paperback version is Mr. Darcy's Diary whereas the hardcover is only titled as Darcy's Diary. Do not be fooled, however. They are the exact same book. Good luck reading. :) 


  1. I liked this book well enough; but only because I already liked Mr. Darcy. :P I liked Mr Knightley's Diary better. I thought Amanda Grange captured his character better than Darcy's (although the first half was more dull than the rest).

  2. I didn't read Mr. Knightley's Diary. In fact, I had no idea the book existed. I never really did further research on the author because I was so peeved by this book. It's good enough because it IS, after all, about Darcy. But other than that....meh.