Drama, Family, Romance

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

My first classic was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and I adored it. I still do. I didn’t really enjoy too many of the other novels by Jane Austen, but this one has always stayed with me. I am always interested in reading modern retellings of novels I love so I was very excited to get the chance to read this one!

In this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties, living the single life in New York, like her older sister Jane who is a yoga instructor. When their father has a health scare, the two sisters return to their Tudor home in Cincinnati to help – and discover that there are a whole host of problems at home. Younger sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts to get jobs, middle sister Mary prefers studying online courses to leaving her room, and Mrs. Bennet has only two interests in life: online shopping and marrying off her daughters. Enter Chip Bingley, the handsome new doctor who recently appeared on the reality TV dating show Eligible. At a barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane but his friend, Darcy, is a lot less charming …

But as we all know, first impressions can be deceiving.

This novel was addictive. I could not stop myself from reading just one more chapter, flipping just one more page. I would chalk that up to the author’s style of writing combined with the short succinct chapters that made up this novel. I’m going to start off by saying that this novel is good if you are looking for something lighthearted. I mean, I quite enjoyed reading this book, and it had me laughing at loads of different places. However, if you were hoping for something that had subtle nuances and depth, then you won’t enjoy this novel. This is a retelling, yes, but that doesn’t mean it captures the essence or the ironic style of Jane Austen, and this is something that readers need to keep in mind; this novel is supposed to put the original story in the context of modern times, not necessarily give us something that is going to change or revolutionize the essence of the story itself. I liked the modern elements introduced in this story, but I didn’t really feel that it added anything meaningful. I mean, if you are going to introduce minority characters, then there should be a well-developed reason; they shouldn’t just be there for the sake of making the story “modern”. I think that is my biggest criticism with this story: many things were just put in there to make the story seem more modern than for any other purpose. I feel like the story would have had a lot more depth if those elements had been explored and made important. The characters retained their original personalities, and the author did a good job of keeping within that structure. Overall, this novel was funny and lighthearted and if that is what you are looking for, then you will really enjoy it. However, if you were hoping for something more nuanced or deep, then you should skip this novel.

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