Have you read any books from the "Mr. Darcy fanfic" subgenre of literature? Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter was my first foray into this little subgenre, and I don't think I'll be back soon. I read it because I was excited about Austenland, which wasn't in theaters yet when I found Me and Mr. Darcy on the "free books" cart at work (in retrospect, that should've been my first clue). I hoped the book would get me excited about the movie, but no such luck.
Here's a clue how bad it is: Mr. Darcy woos our heroine with a recitation of poetry about hookers with veneral disease, and she's too stupid to know this is not romantic. I repeat, HE HUSKILY WHISPERS POETRY ABOUT HOOKERS WITH VENEREAL DISEASE. INTO HER EAR. AND SHE LIKES IT.
It starts well enough: Our heroine, Emily Albright, is a super-prissy, etiquette-obsessed 29 year old bookstore manager in New York who can't meet Mr. Right. She's so in love with the fictional Mr. Darcy that no real man can compare, so she decides to spend New Year's Eve on a Jane Austen literature lovers' tour in England. When Emily meets the rest of the group and Miss Steane, the enigmatic tour guide, she is dismayed to find that she's the only attendee under age 60. Oh yeah, except for the handsome but surly young reporter named Spike, who tags along to write about why women love Darcy so much. Predictably, he and Emily re-enact Pride and Prejudice, and it will make you yawn. But that's not even the bad part.
Ohno, the bad part is that everywhere she goes, our heroine runs into Mr. Darcy. Um, yeah. You read that right. And for absolutely no reason, he falls for her. He rows her around a moonlit lake, takes her for an evening horseback ride, woos her on a romantic picnic... and she begins to realize that all the brooding is a huge drag. This man can't crack a joke. DUH, he's Mr. Darcy. But is he an actor, and the act is part of the tour? Is Emily delusional? Is something supernatural happening? Miss Steane makes weird omniscient statements, but the Mr. Darcy plot is half-baked and unresolved. Just like the almost-anagram of Steane/Austen, it never quite adds up.
Meanwhile, our Emily contradicts herself at every turn. One moment she's a prissy bookworm obsessed with manners. But the next moment she's smoking pot with strangers and reminiscing about casual sex with some dude she's never even mentioned. EMILY, WHO ARE YOU?! But that's not even the worst of it: She's supposed to be obsessed with Austen, but she can't see that she's living the plot of Pride and Prejudice. When she finally realizes it, after the reader has known for 60+ pages, Emily's Oh shucks and wow! response is maddening. At that point, I hated her so much that I just didn't care.
Oh yeah, and to top it off, Darcy woos our supposedly English literature-obsessed heroine with William Blake's "Oh rose thou art sick" poem. I'm sorry, but any English lit lover knows this poem was Blake's commentary on prostitutes and the spread of syphilis... What is he implying?!.
Final verdict: Avoid Me and Mr. Darcy. See Austenland. Over and out.