Ibi Zoboi

HarperCollins Publishers 2018 

Ibi Zoboi has successfully “remixed” Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into a contemporary coming-of-age love story of race and family.  In her novel, “Pride,” a Black wealthy family, the Darcy’s, with two teenage sons, move into an older Brooklyn neighborhood, home of the Afro-Latino Benitez family, with their four daughters.

The story is told by Zuri, the second-to-the-oldest daughter, who fears gentrification by the rich in her poorer, diverse neighborhood will be the end of her community created “out of love” and appreciation for each other’s cultural and social differences.  

As hard as Zuri attempts to reject the Darcy family, she becomes drawn to their prep school son Darius, while her sister, Janae falls immediately in love with the older brother, Ainsley, despite Zuri’s warnings that they would not fit into the Darcy’s economic lifestyle.

Zoboi artistically and poetically creates a Brooklyn neighborhood filled with charming and quirky people such Madrina, who has a crystal ball and communicates with the dead. Neighborhood block parties blare loud ethnic music, and dancing lingers into late evening with plenty of food. 

. . . warm-feeling novel’s message is that change is inevitable . . .

Humor laces many of the pages. After a disastrous social event at the Darcy mini-mansion where the Benitez family were outclassed, Zuri and Janae insist the family leave the party. At home, Zuri and Janae climb onto the apartment roof overlooking the mansion. Zuri unwraps a napkin of “tiny meatballs at the ends of toothpicks,” and then flings them across to Darcys’ roof. 

This warm-feeling novel’s message is that change is inevitable and it should be embraced. Author Zoboi, from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, also emphasizes the importance of education, focusing on Zuri’s determination to pursue a college degree.