Sunday, July 31, 2016

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride & Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld

Publication: April 19, 2016.
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher
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. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Eligible was a pretty fun read. It was easy to get into and I read it in a fairly short amount of time. I am a HUGE Pride and Prejudice lover, so I was a little bit skeptical when I first saw this book. But I’ve been interested in retellings lately, so I gave it a go.

Jane is 40, single, and determined to have a child of her own through artificial insemination.

Liz is a 38 year old magazine writer. Like her sister, she is also single, but she has an off again on again affair with a married man she hopes to be with permanently. Their lives change slightly when their father falls ill and she and Jane rush home to Cincinnati to help take care of things.

Lydia and Kitty live at home with their parents and are as self-absorbed as ever. (Just like their mother, who has a major shopping addiction that she refuses to kick.) They get into one fad after another and this time it happens to be CrossFit. Lydia takes a bigger interest in the exercise program when she falls for someone her parents won’t approve of.

It’s in Cincinnati that the Bennets meet Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy. Of course Jane happens to catch Mr. Bingley’s eye.

Even though I naturally wanted Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy to end up together, I didn’t feel a big connection with them like I hoped I would. I mean they decide to have sex even though they pretty much hate each other. And even though that turned into something more, I just wasn’t feeling it.

All in all, I thought that the characters were very interesting and that Curtis Sittenfeld was able  to create a unique and modern spin on a great classic. She also manages to touch on several current day issues.  And while I did not fall in love with Eligible, I did think that it was both lighthearted and funny. The ideal book for the summertime.

P.S. If you have been thinking of checking out this book, today is the day to pull the trigger! I believe this is for today only, Sunday July 31, 2016: The ebook version of Eligible is on sale for $3.99 on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Google, and Itunes Books!!

RATING: 3 out of 5.


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