Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

Last year I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a fan of Pride and Prejudice and You’ve Got Mail is actually a loose adaption of it. (I have since tried to find that exact article, but have failed).

When I read that I was shocked? You’ve Got Mail? I mean parts are familiar but at its core I have never felt like it is an adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in fact I think the film that You’ve Got Mail is a remake for, The Shop Around the Corner, is a much better argument for a Pride and Prejudice adaption.

I had thought about reviewing You’ve Got Mail last year, but as usual with the holidays-I ran out of time and instead was only able to review one Jane Austen film adaption, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.

This year I ran a poll on my instagram and offered up to review Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen, Christmas at Pemberley, You’ve Got Mail, or The Shop Around the Corner; and You’ve Got Mail won. So let’s take a look!

I first saw this film when I was eight or nine and I thought it was so romantic. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have such great chemistry, it centered around books and bookstores, and of course the “star on this Christmas tree” (more in season than icing on the cake), was that the leads fell in love over letters/email messages.

How sweet!

However, it seems like ever year I grow older I like these characters and film less and less. One part of the film that really bothers me is the way that both main characters are feeling stale in their relationships and decide to turn to emotional cheating instead of discussing their feelings with the person they are living with. And I absolutely hate the way Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear’s characters break up. It’s so weird and awkward how they care so little for the end of their relationship. Like why are they even together? What made them decide to take that step to move in together, save on rent? And another thing I absolutely abhor about this film, Joe’s manipulation of Kathleen, But I’ll save that for later.

But I will try to put aside all those feelings for now and just focus on the film and:

  • Should this be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice?
  • Should this instead be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans?
  • Does this just need to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

Let’s begin with the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men come to their town that their mother is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meet the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

You’ve Got Mail begins with two very different people. Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), Shopgirl, is the owner of a bookstore, inherited from her mother. She lives with her newspaper boyfriend (Greg Kinnear), but is bored in their relationship and searching for escape (when she really should just break up with her boyfriend) and enters an over 30 chat room, meeting up and creating an emotional affair/relationship with NY152.

NY152 is Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), and the owner of Fox Books, a Barnes & Noble-esque corporation. He is in a relationship with a publisher and they have zero chemistry, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that instead of ending his lackluster relationship, he too decided to search the internet for an emotional affair/relationship. While Kathleen and Joe two are “in love” online they are enemies offscreen as Joe Fox is putting up his new store near Kathleen’s and actively trying to put her out of business.

The two meet when Joe is spending the day with his 11 year old aunt and 4 year old brother. They stop at the bookstore and Joe tries to withhold who he really is. Later they run into each other again at a holiday party, Kathleen angry at his “corporate espionage” and withholding his identity; while Joe is extremely rude and insults Kathleen and her store to her face.

Back online Shopgirl/Kathleen and NY152/Joe decide to meet in person (while still in relationships). Joe brings his friend to scout out how she looks and discovers it is his nemesis, Kathleen. He goes in and harasses/insults her-ignoring her pleas for him to leave.

Afterwards, Kathleen’s store folds and Joe realizes he “loves” Kathleen. He goes to tell her how he feels, and she is rude to him (completely understandable), and he decides to embark on a plan to make her fall for him. Playing her as both NY152 he uses his knowledge for them to “accidentally” run into each other; manipulates the responses he gives as NY152 and Joe, so Joe always comes out better. By the end of the film NY152 and Shopgirl meet in person and Kathleen is ecstatic to see Joe is NY152 her “dream man”. Even though this dream man put her out if business and insulted her several times-not to mention constantly lied and manipulated her; all supposedly “ends well.”

So is this an adaption of Pride and Prejudice? I would say no. Not only does the story not really follow Pride and Prejudice but the biggest problem is Joe as Mr. Darcy. I think the first of all is that the two are way too adversarial. I know everyone says Pride and Prejudice is enemies to lovers, but I disagree. Mr. Darcy never saw Elizabeth as an enemy-he saw her as inconsequential, then interesting, then his match, then a mirror showcasing what is wrong with him and needs to be changed, etc. Mr. Darcy never purposely ever tried to hurt Elizabeth, remember when he insults her he doesn’t know she can hear him, and everything he does regarding Jane and Bingley he did not to be malicious to the Bennets, but because he was trying to act in the best interests of his friend-it has nothing to do with Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the only one who thought of him as an enemy, so the two at war like this makes no sense.

In fact if she wanted to make it more like Pride and Prejudice in a modern setting it would have made more sense to have them butt heads over a diffeeence in thought versus an all out war like this. For instance in The Darcy Monologues, one of the modern adaptions have the two working at the same school. Or in Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstring Girl they work at the same Hollywood Studio. This relationship also makes zero sense to me as I cannot see how someone who grew up in their mother’s bookshop, cared for it as their mother did, felt like closing it was burying their parent all over again; would ever be able to happily enter a relationship with the man who purposely destroyed it. If, for instance, he just opened his store there before meeting her, but wasn’t intent on closing her down I could see it-but he is so ruthless, rude, and cruel to her. And these two will live happily ever after?

Secondly, this is not a Pride and Prejudice adaption because they take the very thing that sets Darcy apart, what we love him and completely remove it from the script and do the opposite: I’m talking about the way Darcy deals with Elizabeth’s rejection. When Darcy is rejected by Elizabeth he doesn’t insult her, he isn’t snotty, he doesn’t yell at her or tell her she will regret it, etc. He listens to what she tells him, writes a letter explaining his actions, and respects her rejection and leaves her alone. After Elizabeth refuses him he has no intent on trying to win her, change her mind, or try and show her how he is the “good guy”. In fact, not only does he take what she said to him and decides to change himself, (not to impress her or win her but because he wants to), he also never plans to interact with her again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again. Like I wish guys in real life were as amazing as that.

In this Joe not only belittles and lies to Kathleen, but he completely ignores her feelings or what is best for her. He never thinks of her or what she wants, but only what makes him feel good. He constantly stalks and contrives ways for them to be together, he lies about himself and his intentions, he works hard to show her “how great of a guy he is”, gaslighting her into thinking she was wrong to consider him a jerk. He uses vulnerable information gained from NY152 to make Joe seem better, using it to win her trust and manipulate her into thinking she “loves” him. The whole reason we love Darcy is that he isn’t trying to show or prove something to Elizabeth, he listened to her impressions of him, realized he didn’t want to come off as that, and actively changed himself to make him be better. In this Joe doesn’t go down to the studs and tries to fix the issues in his personality, but just slaps on a splash of paint, bribes the building inspector, and says he’s a brand new building.

Ugh…this guy

In fact rewatching the film this time, this level of manipulation and narcissism makes me feel like if Joe was any Austen character he would be Frank Churchill. And unfortunately in this, Kathleen doesn’t have a great friend like Mr. Knightley who can point out to her that the guy she thinks she could care for is nothing but a narcissistic jerk who will always put his self interest first to achieve what he wants, no matter the cost.

And thirdly, this is not Pride and Prejudice as Kathleen is nothing like Elizabeth. Kathleen is very quiet, sweet, and when it comes to retorts she often stands there uncertain what to say. Unlike Elizabeth, Kathleen only has two real witty moments in the film: her retort to Joe in the coffee shop about Elizabeth Bennet being the heroine of Pride and Prejudice and her insult to him when he visits her after shutting her business down. Most of the time when it comes to verbal wordplay, she has to be rescued by other characters. If I was going to say she is like anybody, I would have to say she resembles Harriet Smith the most. Like Harriet Kathleen doesn’t really make decisions but tends to go along with what other people think she should do. She doesn’t even want to fight Fox Books until NY152, her boyfriend, employees, etc tell her to. She is also easily manipulated and persuaded, and she only gains any type of measure to stand up for herself near the end of the story. But unfortunately for Kathleen, she doesn’t get a Mr. Martin, she ends up with a Frank Churchhill-esque Joe. I hate Frank Churchill.

Seriously!

So is this a Pride and Prejudice adaption, even as a “loose” adaption? I would say no as none of the characters in You’ve Got Mail keep the key components of those found in Pride and Prejudice. With a loose adaption there are a lot you can forgive, but at their core the characters should resemble the ones they are based off, and none do here.

Would I recommend this as a Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans? No. While Joe makes me think of Frank Churchill, and Kathleen Harriet Smith; there really isn’t enough in the themes or the characters to for me to recommend it. Plus I really don’t like it, and I hardly ever recommend a film I don’t like.

Should this just be dropped from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon? Yes, please. Gossip Girl is a more likely candidate for the Jane Austen multiverse/canon then this film.

So agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

I shared earlier in my post that I think that the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of, The Shop Around the Corner, is one that I think you can make a strong agreement that it is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. My plan is to rewatch it, as I typically do for Christmas, and post my review on the 26th. Will I actually be able to do that? I guess we will see. If not I can always save it for next year.

But whether I do or don’t, I did want to end this on one more thing:

Merry Christmas!

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to You Ever Notice That Harry Potter is Kind of Like Elizabeth Bennet in the Way He Treats Snape and She Treats Mr. Darcy?

For more Emma, go to Emma Manga

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William

Pride and Prejudice: The Game

So last year I reviewed the card game Marrying Mr. Darcy, and decided that this December I will review another Jane Austen game, Pride and Prejudice: The Game.

Each player chooses two corresponding couples: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley, Lydia Bennet and Mr. Wickham, & Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins. Each of your couple will start in a different location (for example Elizabeth at Longbourn and Mr. Darcy at Pemberley).

The object of the game is to collect all Regency Life tokens (nature, tea time, society, music & dance, and letters); along with The Novel tokens: Vol. I, Vol. II, and Vol. III. The areas to store the tokens are located on the back of your character sheets.

To gain Regency Life tokens you have to go around the board and enter different locations from the book and purchase the tokens. You need a token from each category to win. You can use both characters of your couple to collect them or just move one around the board.

To gain The Novel tokens, you have to answer trivia about Pride and Prejudice, needing to gain each volume (answer three questions correctly) to win.

Of course there are other squares on the board that will redirect you, cause you to lose money, gain money, and lose a turn.

If you run out of money, you can return home and gain two shillings, or you can sell tokens back to the bank for money as well.

Once you have all the tokens needed you must have both couples to enter the church, but you must enter by an exact roll of the dice.

Now this is the tricky part, I ended up losing the game as I had only one character in, and just could not roll the right number to send the other in.

I thought this game was fun, except I didn’t like the initial set up. It took forever as you had to punch out every card and token. I don’t mind doing some, but for the price you are paying for this game it would have been nice if the cards were already done and the tokens were the only ones you needed to punch out.

I thought this game was a lot of fun, except unlike Marrying Mr. Darcy, it can only be played by people who like and know Pride and Prejudice. The trivia questions weren’t too difficult but you need at least a basic knowledge of the story to play.

The game moved a bit slow in the beginning, but once you have the tokens and are close to getting everything, it picks up.

I would recommend this for Pride and Prejudice fans who have friends or family that equally love it and are willing to play it with you.

This definitely would be great for a Jane Austen book club or to play at a Jane Austen tea party (although it is only for four people). I do wish they had two more couples you could play, I know the Gardiners, Hursts, and Bennets are already married but they could have included them; or Kitty, Mary, and Georgiana. But otherwise this was an interesting game and a great way to test your Pride and Prejudice trivia.

For more Pride and Prejudice games, go to Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game

For more Jane Austen games, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Jane Austen Trivia

For more Jane Austen products review, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Spooky Collaboration with Madsen Creations!

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to You Ever Notice That Harry Potter is Kind of Like Elizabeth Bennet in the Way He Treats Snape and She Treats Mr. Darcy?

You Ever Notice That Harry Potter is Kind of Like Elizabeth Bennet in the Way He Treats Snape and She Treats Mr. Darcy?

So I was rewatching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I noticed something I had never seen before- Harry Potter is a lot like Elizabeth Bennet in the way he treats Snape in the first movie.

Hmm…

Rewatching this film I noticed that the only reason Harry hates Snape and is convinced he is the one killing unicorns, trying to bring back the dark lord, and after the philosopher’s stone is only because Snape embarrassed Harry in front of the whole class.

Yes, in the film Harry has had very few interactions with Snape. Prior to class he was very neutral about Snape, noticing Snape in the Great Hall but nothing thinking much on him. When looking at Snape, Harry gets a headache (from Professor Quirell/Voldemort), but he never attributes that to Professor Snape. He only starts disliking Snape and believing Snape is the behind all the terrible things at Hogwarts after Snape calls him out in front of the whole class and embarrasses him for his lack of magical knowledge.

Professor Severus Snape: Who possess, the predisposition… I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death. [notices Harry scribbling on his paper] Then again, maybe some of you have come to Hogwarts in possession of abilities so formidable that you feel confident enough to not pay attention! [steps over to Harry] Mister Potter. Our new celebrity. Tell me, what would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood? [Harry doesn’t answer] You don’t know? Well, let’s try again. Where, Mr. Potter, would you look if I asked you to find me a bezoar?

Harry: I don’t know, sir.

Professor Severus Snape: And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?

Harry: I don’t know, sir.

Professor Severus Snape: Pity. Clearly, fame isn’t everything, is it, Mr. Potter?

What Snape did was rude, I mean as a teacher he has a new student who has never been to class before and grew up in the muggle world, so he shouldn’t be so harsh with him, Harry really doesn’t garner that kind of derision-but at the same time while rude, Snape isn’t cruel or evil. But after this it doesn’t matter what anyone says or does, Harry continues to believe Snape is the evil one, even when Quirell is in the the dungeon. AND even after Harry finds out that Snape was protecting him in the Quidditch match and had been trying to keep him alive all along, does his opinion of Snape change at all? Nope, he still constantly believes Snape is working with Voldemort and against him, all because Snape wounded his pride.

I was sharing that with my sister when it hit me, Harry is just like Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. The only reason Elizabeth was so hard on Darcy and believed Wickham’s lies was that he embarrassed her when he called her tolerable and not handsome enough to tempt her.

If you think about it, her belief of Wickham is completely against her normal behavior as she is always prudent when judging someone’s character. Yet she finds nothing odd about a total stranger who decides to offload a lot of emotionally charged information (emotionally manipulating her and the community) about how Darcy mistreated him. Even the hypocrisy of him “not wanting to speak bad about the son because he wants to honor the father”, while speaking bad about the son doesn’t even register with her. Elizabeth chooses to ignore that warning of something is not right as she is so angry at what Darcy said and so eager to have another reason that isn’t so vain, a “real reason”, to dislike him.

I always thought it was interesting how Mr. Darcy’s very close friendship with Mr. Bingley refutes some of the things Wickham is saying about Darcy’s character, and the fact that Mr. Bingley and Miss Bingley are wary of Wickham doesn’t push Elizabeth to be more cautious in her trust of him. After all, she has known the Bingley’s much longer and would Mr. Bingley really be such close friends with someone who was so cruel? People can pretend for so only so long before their real character comes out. Not to mention you only met Wickham a few days ago and knows nothing about him other than what he told her, while she has spent time with the Bingleys and know them and where they come from.

But it is completely relatable as her anger blinds her to the troubling behavior of Wickham.

Both characters let one rude incident color all other interactions with the person, letting their personal feelings overshadow logic. At both points of the story, neither Snape nor Darcy have done anything truly villainous, yet not only do Harry and Elizabeth believe this without a shadow of a doubt, they also try to convince others that it is true.

Although, Elizabeth has an advantage over Harry, as she is older, when she realizes her mistakes she changes her actions and point of view; while Harry, being a child, doesn’t realize how wrong he was until the very end of the series.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to L.A. Theatre Works Pride and Prejudice Audio Adaption

For more Harry Potter, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

For more comparisons, go to You Ever Notice That The Gossip Girl TV Show is a Lot Like Persuasion?

L.A. Theatre Works Pride and Prejudice Audio Adaption

So I like listening to audiobooks when I get ready in the morning, drive to work, clean, etc. I was searching through Overdrive’s online system (a free program provided by the library) and spotted this one. As I love Pride and Prejudice, I couldn’t resist and borrowed it.

However when I started listening to it I found out that this isn’t an audiobook, but is an audio adaption of a theater production of Pride and Prejudice, recorded in front of a live audience.

The cast is small, but just perfect for this. We have the following:

I really enjoyed this production as it was a lot of fun and extremely comedic, I was laughing so hard. For me the one that stole this entire show was Mrs. Bennet, her timing and spirit were spot on. I loved it. Jane Carr you were just wonderful!

Like when I listened to Northanger Abbey, read by Anna Massey, this did have me look at something of Pride and Prejudice in a new light. This was an abridged version of course, so events take place sooner then they would, but this adaption got me thinking about the motive behind Elizabeth’s muddy walk. In this adaption Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy say she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him and is really upset. Afterwards, Jane goes to visit the Bingleys and gets sick with Elizabeth strolling to see her sister and walking through the mud.

I always thought her mud walking was just her in a hurry to see her sister, not paying as close attention, or caring if she walked in mud or not as she was worried about Jane. BUT what if that was only part of the reason. I mean she knows that Mr. Darcy is going to be at Netherfield, and the last time she saw him he called her not attractive. Do you think that she partly walked in that mud to show Darcy, that if he is going to consider her only tolerable then she’ll really show him what tolerable is.

I totally believe her wanting to see her sister is the prime motivation for Elizabeth, but do you think a small part of her was trying to shove the country in his face? Like if this is how they view those from the country, if he finds me not handsome, then I’ll really show him. Like when people insult that you about being too much of something so you go overboard about it? Like just a little part of her did it on purpose, maybe even just a subconscious part thought that coming in disheveled and dirty was a way to kind of prove to Mr. Darcy his words didn’t affect her, a kind of “forget you” move? I think so.

And to me what makes it even more enjoyable is at that moment Darcy doesn’t see the mud or dishevelment but is thinking about how beautiful she is.

If you have an opportunity to check out this audio adaptation, it is well worth a listen as it is extremely enjoyable.

For more Pride and Prejudice, go to I Was Asked to Be a Guest on the Podcast P.S. I Love Rom Coms + My Review of their Bridget Jones’ Diary Episode

For more Pride and Prejudice adaptions, go to Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl Audiobook

For more audiobooks, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more Jane Austen adaptions, go to Incense and Sensibility

Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl Audiobook

So I was given this audiobook, Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girlfrom Christina Boyd of The Quill Ink and I was really excited about it as I had really enjoyed the book and their other audiobook, Yuletide.

I had no doubt that this would be just as enjoyable.

Or audiobook, although I know I’ll never hate it.

But I just don’t know what is wrong with me. Every time I tried to write this review something would come up that interrupted me, and this just ended up in my drafts, yet again.

But in July I became sick and had to stay home for most of the month, allowing me time to go through my drafts and get to things I’ve been wanting to write on. I decided no more waiting on this one, I will write this review or die trying. (Just kidding I won’t die)

So quick backstory-back in 2017, Christina Boyd (editor) and several writers wrote The Darcy Monologues, which was a series of stories from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, some in the Regency period and some in the present. After the book came out Christina Boyd shared that from the beginning of the publication of The Darcy Monologues, readers suggested doing the same for Elizabeth-but Boyd wasn’t sure. With all the retellings of Jane Austen’s most loved novel:

“…I thought all the Elizabeth Bennet point-of-view stories surely must have been told.”

But you know us Janeites-no matter what character may be your favorite, everybody loves an Obstinate Headstrong Girl.

So the fans persevered and Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl was born. Yes, Elizabeth is a fantastic and complex character and Christina Boyd, Elizabeth Adams, Karen M. Cox, J. Marie Croft, Amy D’Orazio, Leigh Dreyer, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, and Joana Starnes have written 10 different stories on her.

Yep, 10 more Elizabeths to love. And with so many stories, you know without a doubt there will be several ones that you love.

So I’ve reviewed the book, splitting it between the Regency and modern eras and my opinion is, I loved it! It was amazing.

After loving the book, I couldn’t wait to listen to the audiobook. It was narrated by Elizabeth Grace and Grace did a fantastic job. Often times, female narrators can sound a bit silly when they try too hard to have a deeper “manly” voice but Grace’s narration didn’t sound silly. She was also able to differentiate between characters clearly.

The only time Grace had a slight struggle was with the Southern accent, which I completely understand as doing a Southern accent is easy, but keeping it is very, very difficult.

In my opinion the best thing about this audiobook is that listening to the words being spoken highlights the parts you love and also brings to life passages that you might have overlooked or forgotten how well crafted they are. Every story was wonderful and Grace brought them all to life.

When I took my niece to Reno for her birthday we ended up getting stuck in three car accidents. It took us 6 hours to get there instead of 3. And as we were stuck in traffic no music would play on my radio or through Amazon music as we hit an area where the towers weren’t changed out yet, and there was no service. The only thing I had for us as it grew dark, and we were bored, was this audiobook as I had downloaded it on my phone. We ended up listening to Resolution by Amy D’Orazioon the way there andLove in the Limelight” by Beau North on the way back.

My niece and sister enjoyed Resolution, but I had to explain the plot of Pride and Prejudice to my niece as she has never read or watched it (at least not yet).

They both really enjoyed Love in the Limelight, the 1940s Hollywood one. That one didn’t need any back information and was really intriguing. In fact, my niece asked to finish listening to it instead of the radio as she had to know what happened next, did they end up together or not?

I definitely recommend listening to it if you like Jane Austen, audiobooks, and are looking for something new to love and listen to over and over again.

You definitely need to check this out!

For more on Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl, go to Elizabeth-Obstinate Headstrong Girl: Part II, Other Eras

For more audiobooks, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen Birthday Party: Prize Two

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Jane Austen-Inspired Magazine Cover Cards