5/12/18

Book Review: First Impressions by Debra White Smith


                Hello, so I’m not totally back from my break, but as I said in my last post there was the possibility of me reviewing a book on here this month, and I did get a free book in exchange for a review this month, so here I am! 

                First off, a big thanks to Bethany House and the Baker Publishing Group for giving me this opportunity! Although, this book was free in exchange for my thoughts, my opinions are entirely unbiased.

           I was super excited when I got the email that I was one of the bloggers accepted to receive a copy of this book, I love Jane Austen, I love Pride and Prejudice, and I adore contemporary, so the three together sounded AMAZING. I mean, a contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? I AM ON BOARD.

            The book took a while for me to get into. I didn't like the writing style, it had a lot of purple prose and was very flowery, for example here's a gem I found in the first chapter that honestly made me dread continuing for a hot second:

           The curtain of rain in the peach orchard oscillated as a snakelike tail, white as cotton, dipped from the sky, stirred up a cloud of debris, and hurled peach trees into the air. Eddi dropped her plate and water bottle. A gurgle exclamation parted her lips as the funnel zipped back into the clouds. (pg. 21)

           But it either got better or I got use to it, because it didn't bother me as much as I went on, although I remember thinking, "IF IT DESCRIBES HER SKIRT AS "ELEGANT" AND TELLS ME HOW IT REACHES HER "STRAPPY SANDLES"ONE LAST TIME, I WILL SCREAM. TEST ME, DAVE, TEST ME". 

           It did get better though, and I found the read really pleasant and enjoyable, which I am super glad of because I really wanted to like this book. 

                Despite the rougher beginning I had with this book, I really liked it. The first chapter was kind of hard to get through, but after that I was kind of sucked in. The book was a fast, easy read, and it had a lot of twists and turns to keep me engaged. 

                Anyways, let's nitpick this book Gray Marie Style, shall we?
-The pacing. The pacing was really good (not so much in the first chapter, but the rest of the book), it wasn't too fast or too slow, and I found myself easily caught in the story. 

-The story line. Despite being a re-telling, this book was pretty original and kept me guessing, I like how Debra took a step out of the usual re-telling box and took the liberty to add a few more themes and side plots. 

-The show of how sin equals consequences. I like how the character's downfalls weren't glorified, and how the book showed them having to deal with the aftermath of their bad choices. 

-The theater aspect. A PLAY ABOUT P&P IN A RE-TELLING OF P&P??? GIMME. 

-How Eddi and Dave quoted lines from P&P, when arguing. It was priceless, I loved it. 

-They didn't butcher southern accents! They did the twang really well, except for the fact that they excluded "y'all", but I did see 'em, pale, and bless your little heart a few times, so I was pleased. 
-The writing style/the purple prose. I know some people like this, but it's just not my thing. It's one of the reasons I read contemporary so much because I like the writing short and sweet and not flowery. So reading it in a contemporary threw me off at first.

-The inner dialogue the characters had at times. Half of the time it was okay, but the other half of the time I couldn't help but wonder, "who thinks like this?" 

-Since we're talking about inner dialogue let's talk about Dave's. Now, I liked Dave, he was most definitely my favorite character, he was one of those more complex characters and I loved that about him, but his inner dialogue would sometimes ruin that. He's a really sweet guy at heart but then he starts randomly thinking about how plain or unflattering girls' hair and clothing choices are?? I'm not a guy, but it just seemed strange, who really gives a care about how a girl puts her hair up, Dave? And don't describe a girl you barely know as "colorless in personality", it makes you look hypocritical. 

-Also on Dave, he kept talking about how amazing and elegant Eddi looked, and I get it, he's attracted to her, but it just got tedious because every other paragraph would be about her simple, "elegant" beauty. 

-I found out that Eddi and Dave were Christians halfway through the book. And I'm not mad that they're Christians, but I found it disturbing that I didn't know this. The only thing they did in the beginning was go to church one Sunday, but most people go to church in the south, that alone doesn't tell me anything. 

           There wasn't a conviction. A prayer. A bible verse in a character's mind. Nothing. And then halfway through the book Eddi says something like, "I'm glad God means something to you, because he means a lot to me." 

             Are you sureeeee about that, honey? Dang, you must be the most lukewarm Christian ever. Anyways, I just don't think a characters religion should be a plot twist like that. 

              And then it went from zero to a hundred way too fast, the characters went from normal joes to devout Pro Life Christians, and there's nothing wrong with that on it's own, but the story had already developed without that, so it all felt randomly thrown in.


         This is either a new adult book or just an adult book, so it's definitely more grownupish in its themes:

-Drug abuse. A few of the side characters struggle with bondage to drugs. 

-Alcohol abuse (another side character). 

-Premarital sex and pregnancy. A side character basically chooses to kind of sleep around and then she forgets to take birth control and finds herself pregnant. It doesn't show any of the scenes, but the lust and unhealthiness of her current relationship is shown, since the guy is clearly only using her. 
 Three and a half out of five stars. 

          I did enjoy this book, and I am glad to welcome it to my bookshelf, I think I might re-read it in the far future, because I did like it when I got into it. 

           I would recommend this to people who love more flowery writing or just people who are fans of Jane Austen's works and love re-tellings.

         The book is pretty unique in its idea, I haven't read a lot of Jane Austen re-tellings, so that was cool. 
Have you read this book?
Will you?

Also, thanks for all of the sweet comments on my last post, I am feeling much better, so I might be back a little early. I'm not fully sure yet, but thank y'all for sticking it out with me, I appreciate the support. <3 

Happy Writing,

32 comments:

  1. I'm not sure about reading it (since well....eve though it's a Jane Austen retelling it, it doesn't quite seem to follow the plot lines as much.) Though it looks so cool, though. I love the fact that they included a play of P & P in the book, which is awesome!:)
    -Quinley

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    1. It does follow it enough to clearly be a retelling but there are a few additional side plots. ^_^

      It was pretty awesome.

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  2. I will probably read the book since my sister also got it to review, but since she seemed to have the same opinion as you about it, I probably won't like it that much. She seemed to have the same problem with it. But like you say, a book based on the Jane Austen characters, and the characters are in a P&P play?! That kinda makes me want to read it. Definitely enjoyed reading your review!
    Also, I just wanted to say, lovely pictures of you. You're so pretty!

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    1. I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised then! :D

      Thank you!! <33

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  3. Wonderful review. I don't think this book is for me, but it is very pretty. I'm glad you're doing better. I'm praying for you. <3

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  4. Not my kind of book, but then again it took me a long time to even read a Jane Austen book.

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    1. If Jane Austen isn't your favorite it probably won't be your kind of book at all, lol. But it wasn't fully mine either. >.<

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  5. Hearing about contemporary twists on old stories sort of... fascinates me. If that's the word. :D I think I've only read one book like that - it was a long time ago, and I hadn't even read the original book it was based off (it was a Middle Grade retelling of Sense and Sensibility, which I still haven't read xD).

    Anyway, awesome review! So glad you're feeling better, and I hope you continue to have a wonderful break. <3

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    1. It is very fascinating!
      Sense and Sensibility is really good, you should read it. It's kind of hard to like at first, but the story and character development is so good.

      Thank you! <3

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  6. Oh, thanks for this review! I'm about halfway through, so we'll see how it goes.

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  7. It's so nice to hear your (writing) voice again! This sounds great! I like a balance of flowery writing and straight to the point. I love the idea behind this book though.

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    1. It's nice to sort of be back! :D

      It was a good book. ^_^

      Delete
  8. It doesn’t sound much at all like Pride and Prejudice from your description, haha. My favorite thing about P&P is its wit. I wrote a paper for my British Lit class this semester on how Austen uses gossip in the novel and how the novel is, in a way, itself gossiping about certain classes of British people from the Regency era.

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    1. It kind of has a similar character arc, but yes, it is really loose with sticking to the original plot line.

      The wit is amazing in P&P. I love that about Jane Austen's works, she always points out flaws in society in the most delicate way, it's amazing.

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  9. Well come back !!! I may give it a try !! Thanks !!! its good to have you back !!! :)

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  10. Hmmm, I love flowery language and P&P retellings so I'll have to check up on this book!

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  11. It's good to see that you are posting again.- June

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  12. (Missed ya, girl! Hope you're enjoying your break!)

    This book sounds really interesting, though not really my genre. I did enjoy the original P&P, though, so I might pick this up sometime...

    But is that The Book of the Dun Cow on your shelf??? aslkdjfhlaksjdfhalskdhf I hated that book sooooooo much

    Sorry...but that is like, my least favorite book ever. It confused me sooooo bad. Like the writing style and my reading style just CLASHED

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    1. I missed you as well, and I am!

      I hope you like it if you check it out. ^_^

      YES, I LOVE THE BOOK OF THE DUN COW, THIS MEANS WAR.

      (Just kidding!) XD

      I can see how it might clash, but I love the themes in it so much.

      Delete
  13. That was a short break--make sure you give yourself one if you need it. But your insights are good. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I'm still technically on a break, I just had to post a review this month because I agreed to the terms.

      Thank you! <3

      Delete
  14. So you started off not all that impressed with the book, but later ended up liking it...was that intentional?
    I don't read too many contemporaries, but the fact that there's a play interests me. A good portion of my friends and family are theatre nerds, and I still hold the faint dream of joining them on stage.
    Nice to hear from you again!

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    1. I didn't really expect to like the book, so it wasn't really intentional, but I am glad I did end up liking it. :D

      I hope you can pursue that dream!

      Thanks, Blue!!

      Delete

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