This was a lot of fun. It takes a look at three novels and deconstructs them in an intelligent, sarcastic, opinionated and snarky way. Rodi has done his homework and backs up all of his snide remarks. He appreciates Jane Austen and her novels. He finds her a genius, but not an angel.
He begins by saying that Austen finds "weddings a bore" and that " she has a highly pragmatic point of view.....weddings are chiefly about property, not about passion." He calls Austen "wicked" and "merciless." He points out that time after time her characters keep their eyes "on the ledger sheet" and those character who act impetuously are condemned by society and the author.
Of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, he says,"Elinor governs her feelings and Marianne indulges them." He continues, "There's nothing remotely attractive about her (Elinor) except her reliability and faultless good manners,... Marianne remains voluble and reactive." Rodi calls Willoughby, Marianne's heart throb a"handsome , self absorbed schmuck" and colonel Brandon a"world class wuss". Edward, Elinor's love is just graceful.
The Bennet's are Rodi's all time favorites. Elizabeth is the real diamond and Jane is just card board. He adores the whole cast of characters for their color and action. He has real passion for Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourge for what they do for the novel. He finds Elizabeth 's friend , Charlotte , much smarter than she is. Again, he points to the fact that love is attention to net worth,when sensible.
Rodi's least favorite is Mansfield Park. He finds Fanny Price more class conscious than Darcy. He says that she is lacks passion, honesty and even good intentions. If you want to find out why, you'll need to read the book. Rodi likes Henry, the cad and Mary, his sister, much better than Fanny and Edward.
Yet, this humorous view does feel a bit laborious . He summarizes and critiques every two or three chapters. It is fun, but also work. If you're pretty familiar with Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park you will find some of Bitch in a Bonnet redundant . Originally, I thought this would be a great read along for a first time reader. I was wrong. It is too personal and persuasive a view. It is a bit of a slog for a reader who is really familiar with these works. It's just right for a reader who has read each work, once or twice .
Also, Rodi falsely trivializes Austen's characters who become ill. Read Mann, which is written much later, if you want to see how ineffective medical care is, even for the privileged.
As I've said, Bitch in a Bonnet is, Rodi's very personalized retelling of beloved and familiar important works of Austen. It's not for everyone. It shouldn't be read before, instead of or until the reader is well versed in Austen. I believe the reader must begin Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park as a virgin, no experience. Take these revolutionary and inspired works and experience them. After that, you may be searching for variety, a different experience, and then you may be ready to enjoy Rodi's masterful and clever verbal intercourse