A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale
It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.
Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! —Lorie Langdon author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series
Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. —Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials
I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time. —Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
Sweet and complicated high school. I don’t miss it.
Pudge and Prejudice is a spunky tribute to Pride and Prejudice. As the many many maaany people who have seen the movies and less many that have read the book, I can say this book does an excellent job of reviving its classic tale in eighties gear. Elyse is a quirky lead character, whose narrative will keep you entertained, chuckling, and really wishing for her self confidence to grow. It’s a main theme in the book that Elyse is somehow ‘less than’ when it comes to her weight. Her mother’s comments, the school population, even a little ‘monster’ named Caroline continue to mention it. She’s compared to her sisters and what her weight will even mean for her future. Elyse mentions it nearly in every chapter and despite all of her many good qualities, it holds her back from enjoying things completely. Honestly, it was difficult to read at times because I went through a similar experience. I was happy to see Elyse starting to feel more comfortable with her body, with wanting to be seen and not feeling like she shouldn’t explore who she is beyond reader, sister, and smart girl with a weight issue.
“My size, my face, my hair-we were all well on our way to becoming friends with each other. That misdirected pride I’d carried for so long, the one that led me to hide behind an almost aggressively plain appearance, was being chipped away with every bit of color I allowed in my wardrobe, my accessories, my tinted lip gloss. I was finally comfortable enough with myself to highlight myself. Like in the books I love.”
It irks me to think of any young girl growing up and thinking their weight is an issue at all. Skinny, not skinny, or absolutely and completely good the way they are. I’ll stop ranting at this point and say that the topic itself and clever way Pittman integrates the classic with her own story was well done. The characters are well written and comical in their own eighties flair. Pittman has lots of great references to the era and the music choices were great. I found myself listening to music while reading for most of the book. Eighty percent at least.
I also definitely pictured everyone in the most colorful outfits I could imagine.
While I’m not sure it was intentional, I enjoyed the way Elyse would goodheartedly make fun of herself. Mainly in the way she drew out her phrases or used words that no one else seemed to use in high school.
“A note. Upon close inspection-like, by picking it up-I realized there was more than one sheet of paper here, Two or three, at least.”
I thought it was a smart way of keeping the humor in the story and making it more down to earth for the reader. I enjoyed the additional depth Pittman added to each character and the struggles they are facing in life as well.
Since I could go on for a while, here are some parts I enjoyed that may appeal to you as a reader: redeemable characters, breaking stereotypes, the love interest based off Darcy is named Billy Fitz, eighties throwback, football mentioned seriously but not taken seriously, Lottie reminding me more and more of Regina George, and puns.
I hoped you enjoyed this review as I enjoyed the book. I hope it’s piqued your interest and you take a look for yourself. I also hope you’re staying healthy and happy!
Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.
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What a fabulous review! Sounds like you connected to the book in a lot of different ways — what more could a reader want. Thanks for sharing it!