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
I’ll let you in on a secret. I, an English major in college and lifelong avid reader, have never read Pride and Prejudice. But I didn’t let that stop me from jumping at the chance to review Pudge and Prejudice. Texas? High school? The 80s? Yes, please!
This book, y’all. Elyse was such a relatable character to me. I wanted to reach in the pages and hug her, like I wish I could go back and hug my high school self. I didn’t have the horde of siblings, but I, too, didn’t conform to societal norms of teenage beauty. I didn’t have the boys ringing my phone off the wall or clamoring to ask me out. They were more interested in copying my homework than going on a date. Elyse, she and I, we are kin. I felt her indecision about Billy Fitz. “I like him. Maybe he likes me? No, he could never like me. And I don’t really like him, not really. It’s better that way.” I understood when she convinced herself that really, there could never be anything there. And I CHEERED when she gave Katie Berg what for after nosy Katie tried to dictate Elyse’s social life according to Acceptable High School Standards. I wanted to jump in the book and give her a big ol’ high five and a hug.
A. K. Pittman has gloriously channeled small town Texas and high school angst and drama. Football is king, and the quarterback is the king of the team. Having some boyfriend is better than no boyfriend (looking at Lottie and Collin here, and Lottie’s very pragmatic view of social realities). And I laughed out loud at the description of Homecoming mums. I’m not a Texas girl by birth (shh, don’t tell anyone), and the first time I saw a mum was when I was in college. I was stunned by the confection of flowers and ribbons and stuffed animals and all kinds of doodads and baubles that girls actually wore. (This was in 1986. I think they’ve gotten more elaborate since then – I swear there are some that actually need their own flatbed trailer to carry them.)
The book is also faithful to life in the 80s. No cell phones. Kids had curfews and rules. Families shared a telephone and a television. Learning to drive and earning the use of the family car was a rite of passage. Parents could send their kids to the store unsupervised. The DJ dedication! Man, that took me way back. It made me nostalgic for my own youth.
Now, never having read the inspiration for Ms. Pittman’s work here, I can’t tell you if the characters were faithful to Jane Austen’s telling of the tale. What I can tell you is that this is an engaging story that made me laugh, and rage, and gave me all the happy tears at the end. It was well worth my time to read, and I would enthusiastically recommend it for readers from junior high on up who enjoy a clean romance, a trip back in time, and a wonderfully crafted story. I hope to read more of Ms. Pittman’s work, and she may have inspired me to pick up the original Pride and Prejudice.
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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