Continuing with the Alphabet Variation Challenge:
For letter “P,” I read Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, which was published in 2018 and was chosen by my book group.
Pride is a young adult novel which is loosely based on the Pride and Prejudice story. The setting is modern day Brooklyn in an area of the borough that is populated by African American, Hispanic, and Caribbean ethnicities. There are five daughters in the Benitez family who share an apartment with their parents in what seems like a rather large brownstone. Our heroine is Zuri Benitez who is an 18 year old high school senior, applying to colleges, and torn about leaving her neighborhood and all she knows. She is also a talented poet with a pride in her family and her culture. Into this setting arrives a new, wealthy family by the name of Darcy that has completely renovated a building across the street and made it into a single family home. When the girls see that the family is also African American, they speculate about the family’s background – are they in sports? Are they in entertainment? But, they soon learn that the father is an investor, interested in real estate, and the mother has a posh British accent. The oldest boy, Ainsley, is in college, just like the oldest Benitez sister, Janae. The second eldest boy, Darius, is a high school senior applying to colleges, like Zuri, and the boys’ little sister, Georgia, is in boarding school. Considering the similarities in ages, soon the Benitez’ landlady begins to speculate on whether the young people might become romantically involved. While it looks like Ainsley and Janae are initially very compatible, Zuri and Darius butt heads from the beginning, each misconstruing the others’ true motivations and outlooks on life.
I enjoyed this story when it explored the culture of the Benitez family and their neighborhood or when it briefly touched on the experiences of the Darcy family as wealthy African Americans facing prejudice from their white cohort. But, it wasn’t quite as successful when the author tried to fit the Pride and Prejudice plot into the story. Even though the romantic elements were nice, I just didn’t feel the attraction between Zuri and Darius beyond two people becoming friends, who might one day become romantic … but not now. If the author had just written a story unentangled with P&P, it probably could’ve explored the more interesting aspects of the story like gentrification, like Caribbean/Haitian culture, like wealthy African Americans facing the same bigotry as those less well off, etc. So much to explore. Since I think this missed the mark, I’ll give it a C+/B-.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 16 down, 2 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q, I, O, P …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 14 down, 4 to go