PRIDE BY IBI ZOBOI // What If 'Pride and Prejudice' was in Modern NYC? // REVIEW

As a huge fan of the Pride and Prejudice 2005 movie, I was excited to read an Afro-Latinx, urban version of the classic by Jane Austen with much success. 

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on

At first, I was trying to follow along with the original story of P&P, even though most of those characters were white and set in a different era. What I had found helpful was that as I kept reading, the story became its own entity rather than a page-by-page retelling. Zuri (aka our 'Elizabeth Bennett') was this feisty, no-nonsense, determined Haitian-Dominican 17-year-old, someone who loves her hometown in Bushwick, NY. Her family of five sisters and two loving parents in a fast-paced, tight-knit neighborhood reminded me of my childhood neighborhood in New Jersey.

It all changes when the Darcy family moves in and takes over the whole scene of the area. To be honest, I would have picked better names for Darius and Ainsley (aka 'Mr. Darcy' and 'Mr. Bingley'), but that's just me being nitpicky. Darius was just as stuck-up and an asshole as the original character, but later on, as he got to know Zuri and the neighborhood, he let his walls down and became a pretty cool guy.

Darius and Zuri's chemistry was interesting to read about and follow. Zuri at first started as someone who was very headstrong and independent, but at times I found her character very judgemental, especially towards Ainsley and Darius. When she didn't even know them as soon as they had moved in the neighborhood, she instantly had an agenda to not like them because they came from a rich family background.  However, when they started talking and got to know each other, it didn't happen until the last quarter of the book. So if you're not into them as characters, you probably won't be into them as a couple. Thankfully, as their romantic trajectory changed, I began to root for their growing relationship.

Some of the changes Zoboi made in her writing between the original Austen classic and her own version were needed, but some changes didn't make sense. I don't want to spoil what happens, but some changes made me scratch my head more than others. However, I let some of those changes go because of the modern era this book was written for. Zoboi's writing immersed me in a world I've only witnessed on TV and occasionally in person on visits to the city. Even though I've only been to NYC a couple of times in my life, I felt like I could see, hear, smell and taste everything, as if I were looking at everything through Zuri's eyes.

Final Takeaway: There's not much more to say about this retelling. It was fun to read, a bit slow in the beginning, but it caught up in the middle and the end. I had fun diving into a different, better, black version of my favorite Austen classic tale!

Rating: 4 stars

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