Thursday, June 9, 2016

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Summary from Amazon:

     This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

     Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

My Thoughts:

     I finished this book one week ago and I am still sitting here trying to figure out what to write.  Eligible is a modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice which is one of my all-time favorite books so I was worried about whether or not I would enjoy this one.  I shouldn’t have been…

     All of the main characters are here; the Bennett’s’, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Bingley and even Caroline. Some changes were made with some of the other players in this tale such as Wickham and “dear”, old Aunt Katherine but I don’t feel this detracted from the story at all.

     We meet the Bennetts in 2013 living in Cincinnati.  Mr. Bennett has just come home from the hospital after having suffered a heart attack.  Jane and Liz, who both live and work in New York, have come back home to help care for him during his recovery because Mrs. Bennett has a large charity luncheon she simply “must” coordinate. 

     The Bennetts are all still pretty much the same; Mr. Bennett would rather read in his study than deal with his wife, Jane and Liz are the only semi-sensible ones, Kitty and Lydia are boy crazed and selfish, Mary is still a studious loner.  I have to say that I LOVED Mr. Bennett as his dry humor made me laugh many times during this book!

     This modern version of P & P follows along with the original story fairly closely except for the things that needed the update.  There are no mentions of marrying cousins to keep estates in the family (although there is a Mr. Collins who is Liz’s step-cousin) and the Lydia marriage scandal and Wickham (now Jasper Wicks) situation are given a new more modern and plausible twist.  There is also a reality television show (Eligible) that is used as a major angle during the story.

     Ms. Sittenfeld has done, in my opinion, a wonderful job of bringing Lizzie and Darcy to life in our current times.  Mr. Darcy is still proud, snotty, and socially awkward at times and this made me very happy!  I was so afraid that his character would be changed into some modern metro sexual male that I would dislike immensely. 

     I am so glad that I read this retelling because I absolutely LOVED it! It was modernized but still kept the main characters personalities true to the original and it was clever and very funny at times.  The only things I can think to complain about is that during part of the reality television show section it got to be a little “too much” background t.v. info and I skimmed that part a bit.  I also thought the Wickham/Wicks storyline needed to be a bit more scandalous-don’t get me wrong, it was bad but not comparable to the P & P scandal.

     If you love Pride & Prejudice, do not hesitate to read Eligible! Having the Bennetts and Mr. Darcy brought to our century by Curtis Sittenfeld was pure pleasure!

5/5 stars

This was my second Book of the Month Club delivery! My hubby especially enjoyed the bonus candy. :)

Read an excerpt here!

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