Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.
Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.
When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.
In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.
Sometimes, I come across books that I intuitively know I am bound to fall in love with. And so what do I do? I ignore it for as long as possible until it comes across my path again. Pride by Ibi Zoboi is definitely one of those books.
Annually during Black History Month, I make it a point to read books only written by black authors or minority authors. To kickstart this month, I listened to Pride on audiobook. Which was performed by fellow author Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X & With the Fire on High). Immediately I was drawn into Zuri Benitez and her block in Bushwick Brooklyn.
Now I am in no way shape or form a fan of the original Pride and Prejudice story by Jane Austen for many reasons that I can complain about in another post. However, this remix on the tale managed to use this beloved story and apply it to some of the many issues that affect Black, LatinX & other minorities in the beautiful city I call home. I immediately identified with Zuri’s worries, ideals, and desires. This story transported me from Atlanta, back to the streets of Brooklyn, a borough I used to spend summers in. (I’m a proud Bronx girl though!)
Ziboi’s writing is fantastic! She transported me from the Benitez home to the grimy streets on the block, and into the comfort of the local bodega and bodega cat.
The pace of the story was perfect and well thought out. Steady and fast-pace in the right moments.
I loved the characters! The Darcy brothers, Darius and Ainsley, moved in across the street from the Benitez building in the upscale house that hadn’t matched well with the rest of the neighborhood; The Benitez sisters and parents, a family combining the beautiful cultures of Haiti and the Dominican Republic; Madrina, the matriarch and owner of the building the Benitez family lived in; and other side characters who added color to the storyline is the major reason this is one of my favorite reads of the year so far. They were all three dimensional, with a variety of world-views and way of life gripping me as the plot developed.
Pride, much like its namesake, showcases different aspects of the Black Diaspora and how in each corner or nook, there is always something to take pride in.Whether it be the neighborhood you grew up in, your ethnic background, or your future academic/career plans. Pride is something deeper than just the individual. It is something to celebrate as a community.
Of course, I couldn’t wrap up this review without highlighting the love story. Without giving spoilers, it was well thought out, well paced and added to the richness of the story rather than being the focus. And I hope when you do get around to picking it up, you’re able to see that the love story isn’t solely focused on one couple, but all aspects of love throughout the novel.