A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale
It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.
Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! —Lorie Langdon author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series
Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. —Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials
I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time. —Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
Pudge & Prejudice by A. K. Pittman is a delightful retelling of Austen’s popular novel set in the ‘80s. As an Austen late bloomer, I am open to all kinds of reimaginings and castings when it comes to the beloved Pride & Prejudice. Add some zombies? Why not? Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? Yes. Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet? Yes, please. Bridget Jones’s Diary? Heck yes. Colin Firth as Mark Darcy? Yes! Oh wait, did I list Colin Firth twice? My bad. Anyway, my point is, anything based on P&P is good, and when you make it YA with an ‘80s spin, I expect nothing but good things.
And oh, does Pittman deliver the goods. Her translation of each key character might not be exact, but is appropriate to the intended audience and the new time period. If I may speak plainly, mothers do not have to worry about some of the uncomfortable situations presented in the source material being repeated here. I applaud Pittman’s ability to deliver plausible alternatives to the plot that let us focus on the important dynamics that occur between these great characters.
The author’s treatment of the time period as a character itself makes this book extra special to me as a child of the ‘80s. Unlike other novels that only mention a detail or two every few chapters to remind you of where and when you are, Pittman really gives you the full experience of being in a small Texas town during one of the most colorful and musically subversive decades ever. If the mixtape and headphones on the cover didn’t clue you in, there’s some great music mentioned within these pages. My only gripe is that Pittman did not include a complete playlist for easy reference. I have read this book twice (because I love it so much!) and you can bet that I will be listening to the songs while reading through for the third time.
I have read a few reimaginings that took particular characters or plot points and went a bit too far astray from the original. As much as Pittman had to alter, I think that she preserved the most important bits. Things are not always as they seem. Close sisters are best friends that never quit. And your embarrassing family is still your family; you wouldn’t trade them for the world. I think you will enjoy the way that Pittman has transformed the characters and story.
Best believe that I will be reading more of Allison Pittman’s books after this. Especially if there’s an Emma remake. Why would I say that? Well, I won’t ruin it for you. But seriously, read this book now. Share it with that person in your life who loves P&P in all its variations or, perhaps more urgently, share this with someone who, like me in the past, is resisting Austen.
Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.
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