The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet

18775255 Lizzie Bennet is back! Sort of. No new season of Lizzie Bennet Diaries (although there were two new semi-awkward videos, if you missed them!), but if you've been missing the old Youtube series, you can now check out the tie-in book: the "diary" of Lizzie over the year of vlogging her life, Darcy and all.

When I got the chance to read an advanced copy of the book, I was positively jumping with excitement, and I started reading it straight away. And if the idea of spending more time with this Lizzie and her world makes you similarly excited, then it's definitely worth picking up a copy.

Let's be honest: this book isn't going to change your world. But if you enjoyed the videos as they aired, it is going to make you all nostalgic for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and eager to watch them all again. In fact, I think the best way to read this book is by rewatching the videos simultaneously -- each diary entry has a real date so that you can match up the videos and chapters in the right order, and see how they interact. (There's even a helpful timeline on the official website, for those who want to do that). 

The book also has a fair amount of new material, including a few plot twists that never made it to screen. We actually get to see Lizzie's parents interacting, and so we can see them with more depth. There are more Darcy scenes, including details of the day in San Francisco, and more detail/honesty about early Darcy moments than we hear about in the videos. And, of course, it has a copy of Darcy's letter. However, it's a little disappointing how the book handles the big moments that we already saw on screen -- aka Darcy's confession and the moment when the two of them get together. The book just uses transcripts from the videos, rather than adapting them into diary format or scenes from a novel. And yes, we have seen these moments before, but it would have been great to get some of Lizzie's interiority during the scenes. As it is, it comes off as a little redundant.

The book also takes the chance to address some of the problems with the show. A lot of people criticized the series for Lizzie's slut shaming of Lydia, and the idea that Lydia was utterly cowed and changed by her experience with Wickham. The book tackles both. First, by Lizzie realizing how badly she screwed up, and how she should have appreciated her sister for who she was, and secondly, by suggesting that this is a new Lydia, but not a BETTER Lydia, and that the old Lydia is bouncing back. I was always on team "Lydia is shown with great depth and we're not supposed to support Lizzie's perspective on her," and whether that was genuinely the case or not in the show, it's great to see that the book makes the problems with Lizzie's attitude explicit.

All in all, it's a cute tie-in for a cute addictive series. It won't appeal to people who haven't seen the show, but then, it's not really meant to. It's for fans of the show, and as long as they don't expect too much beyond cute, enjoyable light reading, they'll certainly enjoy it.