I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Published by Random House Publishing Group on April 19, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Contemporary Women, Family Life
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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.
I first came across Curtis Sittenfeld with her debut Prep back in 2005. I really enjoyed it but did not read anything else she had written. When Eligible came on my radar, I decided it was high time to read Sittenfeld again. Eligible is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Since it has been many years since I read P&P (I think high school or just after) this was a lovely way to revisit it. This version is set in Cincinnati, and when Mr. Bennett faces a health crisis, Liz and Jane return from their NYC lives to help care for him. The three youngest girls, Kitty, Lydia and Mary all still live at home and mooch off of the parents. Facing a lack of income, the family is set on hard times and Mrs. Bennett is trying to push her girls onto suitors with ample bank accounts.
The plot of Eligible, while playing off of a classic, was still unique and had a great way with small twists that really made the tale. The writing of Curtis Sittenfeld had a very lyrical quality. She was able to imbibe the words with the personalities of the storytellers. The pacing had some small moments of drag, but would always catch back up. The world built was solid but focused more on the players than on the locations. The emotions ran high in Eligible, much like the original. Love, hate, drama and family all blended very well to create a tie to the writing. The characters came across as old friends revisited. I was annoyed with the majority of the players, as I was with them in P&P, but they still made you care for them even when they were being ridiculous.
I am glad I decided to read Eligible and re-discover Curtis Sittenfeld. The modern twist to a classic really worked. When you can take a book originally set in the early 1800’s and update it to include reality shows, diversity and boomerang children, and have it all work you know you have a winner. Plus Mr. Darcy was still dreamy. Even if you are not a classic lover, this book should appeal as it has enough modern turns to make it a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Favorite lines – “My dear,” said Mr. Bennet, “if a sock puppet with a trust fund and a Harvard medical degree moved here, you’d think he was meant to marry one of our girls.”
Biggest cliché – Everyone needs to be married!
Have you read Eligible, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge