Friday, June 3, 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

This modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice was so fun!  The Bennet family, Mr. Bingley, and Mr. Darcy have been completely updated while maintaining essential elements of their personalities.  All the additions to the story are entertaining and fun to experience.

Liz is in her late thirties and works at a magazine.  Jane is a yoga instructor.  Both sisters reside in NYC.  Kitty and Lydia are way into CrossFit and Paleo (and as vain as they come).  Mary is working on her third online master's degree and is a bit of a recluse.  Mrs. Bennet just wants to marry off the daughters, especially as Jane's fortieth birthday looms on the horizon.  Darcy is a neurosurgeon at the same hospital where Chip Bingley works.  Bingley is a doctor who just finished filming a season of Eligible, this novel's version of The Bachelor.

Mr. Bennet has a health scare that sends Liz and Jane home for awhile, and during their stay they meet Bingley and Darcy.  Bingley is charming and takes an immediate interest in Jane.  Darcy is less charming and he and Liz get off on the wrong foot.

So I picked up Eligible through the Book of the Month Club.  I heard about this service on the Book Riot podcast (they were a sponsor).  I decided to give it a try and I'm loving it so far.  This was my pick for May, and I just selected Modern Lovers by Emma Straub for June.  I highly recommend checking out this service!  I went with Eligible because I'm in the midst of some stressful personal stuff and was craving something I could get lost in and just enjoy.  I picked a good one!

I loved this so much.  I've read Pride and Prejudice a couple of times and I really appreciated how Sittenfeld took the characters and updated them.  They still had their original qualities - the original Lydia is brash, beautiful, and spoiled.  So it makes sense that her modern version would be jobless and still living at home, crass and somewhat inappropriate, obsessed with her appearance, and coasting along on her good looks.  Darcy and Liz don't go for walks around the countryside estate.  They meet while taking a jog.  And the whole Eligible plot addition was super fun to read.  I'm not a TV person in general, but I have definitely seen my share of reality TV.  She nails it in the best way.

This is the first retelling of a classic novel that I've read.  I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.  I'm a fan of the original version, so I was a little worried this would piss me off.  I wasn't sure how closely Sittenfeld would follow the original plot.  She really stuck to it for the most part.  I had a really good time trying to decide how she would organize key plot points.

Finally, Sittenfeld takes on some social issues in her writing.  She addresses gender, class, family dynamics, and relationships.  I felt like Austen really tackled these issues too, but Sittenfeld does it in a more direct way.

I loved this!  If you're looking for a fun read, this book is for you.  If you're a fan of Pride and Prejudice, this book is for you.  And if you're into retellings or want to give a retelling a try, this book is for you!  Click here to grab a copy!

2 comments:

  1. This was already on my summer reading list--I am glad!

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    1. It was fun! And I think it's a perfect summer read. For some strange reason, I've done all my Austen reading during the summer months, so this just felt right! :)

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