Eligible is basically a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Having read Pride and Prejudice in high school, and loving it, I had high expectations for Curtis Sittenfeld's novel Eligible. It of course extended any and all expectations I had. It was both hilarious and inviting, I didn't want Eligible to ever end.
In this new modern retelling, there was a sense of modernity that left me feeling both excited yet oddly saddened (by the fact that Mr. Darcy would be quiet different in this retelling versus the original work of Jane Austen). However, Eligible still kept true to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Bennet was still irresponsible with money and Mrs. Bennet was still her social climbing self, with both prejudice and a shopping addiction. Their daughters are single and they are getting older. There is still differences, being that it is focusing on a modern version. Jane and Elizabeth are living in New York whereas their parents and sibilings (i.e. Mary, Lydia, and Kitty) are living in Cincinnati.
In this Curtis Sittenfeld's novel, Eligible, Elizabeth Bennet is a journalist, Jane is a yoga instructor, Mary is a perpetual student of online courses, and both Lydia and Kitty are CrossFit fanatics. Having the Bennet women working, and not needing to depend on men to keep their house or land, left me feeling both empowered and ecstatic. When Chris Bingley, Harvard educated ER doctor, lands in Cincinnati with his best friend Fitzwilliam Darcy, a neurosurgeon, things get very entertaining very fast. You see, Bingley was on a television show called Eligible - basically like The Bachelor - which his sister, Caroline, talked him into... however he didn't find a wife on the show and is still in essence eligible. Making the title of the novel fitting for this modern day retelling.
This is was a fun, captivating, hilariously addictive novel to read. I definitely recommend this novel to everyone that enjoys reading light, fun, contemporary, romantic novels.
April 19th 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.
Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .
Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
ARC was kindly provided by publisher, Random House Publishing, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (due out April 2016) as well as the bestselling novels Sisterland, American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Curtis's writing has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair,Time, Slate, Glamour, and on public radio's This American Life. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she currently lives in St. Louis, MO.