Book Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

Curtis Sittenfeld hits it out of the park with this deliciously fun, impeccably executed modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice! Effortlessly clever and oh so funny, it hits the perfect tone for a modernized classic, managing to poke fun at the more antiquated bits while keeping things fresh and staying true to the storyline.

Whether you’re a Jane Austen junkie or someone who could care less about classic lit, this book has something for you. P&P devotees will be happy to see the Bennet gang’s all here – albeit completely revamped to reflect modern lingo, trends, and issues. Liz writes editorials for a magazine, her older sister Jane is a yoga instructor, and both have come home to their family estate in Cincinnati to help out following their father’s recent health scare. With younger sisters Mary, Kitty, and Lydia happily jobless, living at home and heavily depending on their parent’s support, the added strain of medical bills force the Bennet’s to take a hard look at their changing financial situation. And since this is P&P we’re talking about, the obvious solution is for Mrs. Bennet to quickly marry off any one of her five eligible daughters to a wealthy suitor. But preferably Jane, who’s about to commit the cardinal sin of turning forty without a husband.

Chip Bingley, new to Cincinnati and fresh off his stint on the popular reality TV dating show Eligible, has an instant connection with Jane. His friend, neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, and Liz on the other hand? Not so much. But not hitting it off right away doesn’t mean things are destined to stay that way.

Bottom line, I found Eligible to be a hugely satisfying read! If you’re familiar with the overall arch of P&P, you essentially know where it’s heading. At the same time it easily stands on its own, meaning it should be equally entertaining for those of you who have no idea what to expect. Through it all, Sittenfeld displays a deft hand for making cunningly astute observations on the human psyche. It’s the framework of Austen’s classic infused with relevant modern day issues, doubling as an eerily accurate cultural touchstone that astutely covers topics such as Obamacare, gender identity, racism, and single parenthood, just to name a few. I couldn’t put it down!

5 Stars.

Happy reading!

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