I actually sat down and wrote down the books I’ve read for the self-published reading challenge to see what ones I still need to review. In a shocking twist, I am well past my original goal of ten self-published books READ, but slightly behind on reviews… so I guess I will be working on that over the next two weeks!
Here is my review of Pied and Prodigious by D.M. Andrews, a self-published Austen parody. This review originally posted on Indie Jane.
Pied and Prodigious by D.M. Andrews is an entertaining and well written spoof of Pride and Prejudice. This isn’t a gentle satire, this is a straight comedy send up (not that there’s anything ungentle about it, the essentials of the story are treated with care and remain the same). If you’re a fan of silly sketch comedy, Pied and Prodigious is the book for you.
Pride and Prejudice focuses on the importance of wealth and status in Regency England. Pied and Prodigious does the same, but what is important in this alternate version is fashion and physical height…and being as unaccomplished as possible. Poor Lizzy strikes out on every level as she is short, not possessed of a huge wardrobe, and ridiculously accomplished.
The story follows Pride and Prejudice almost scene for scene (with some judicious trimming). We are introduced to Mr. Dicey, the incredibly tall, fashionable man who never takes off his pied hat, and his good friend Mr. Blingley who wears an unreasonable amount of gold jewelry.
One of the hallmarks of good comedy is the ability to isolate and exploit hallmark characteristics. Ever think that Jane was sweet to the point of slowness? This Jane doesn’t have much rattling away in the old attic, but she’s still sweetly Jane. Ever think Mary got a bad rap for being a bookworm? Or that Lady Catherine was a soul-sucking creature of darkness? Or that Lizzy, though we love her, is just a little bit too spunky and perfect for reality? Andrews is able to emphasize all of these traits for the sake of comedy, while still remaining surprisingly true to Austen’s story. Much like Mr. Bennett, Austen delighted in the ridiculous and sometimes as modern readers, I think we miss that. Andrews brings it home in a funny, yet loving way.
Sometimes a really clever sketch comedy idea ends up on stage and runs too long. Many a potentially great skit on SNL has been ruined by the last minute and half. Therein lies my only issue with Pied and Prodigious – it was very funny and very clever, but I felt like it was a bit too focused on the main joke (fashion, fashion, and pied coats). There were some other potential gold mines throughout – a few truly Monty Python-esque moments (Lizzy running through the shrubbery to get away from Mr. Dicey is a great example) that took the focus of the main theme. If there had been more of those minutes I think it would have made this an even more enjoyable read.
Overall, Pied and Prodigious was a funny and interesting diversion. The writing style is fresh and clever and provides several laugh out loud moments. If you’re a fan of comedy, definitely give this one a read.
4 out of 5 Stars