Eligible is the latest book by Curtis Sittenfeld and is a modern day adaptation of Jane Austen‚Äôs Pride and Prejudice. As a massive fan of the original I wasn’t sure what I would think of this modern day version but I really enjoyed it!
The Bennett sisters and their family and friends are catapulted into the 21st century, where they live in suburban Cincinnati in a crumbling Tudor. Jane and Liz live in New York, where Jane is a yoga instructor and Liz is a writer for a prestigious magazine. They return to their childhood home when their father has a heart attack, to help put the family back together. More problems arise when they get back: Liz soon discovers her family doesn’t have medical insurance and her father’s hospitals bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the house has been re-mortgaged and no one else in the family has a job.
I really liked the way the story followed the same trajectory at the original, but with modern twists. Lydia and Kitty are as shallow as they are in the original, but in modern day they are obsessed with Crossfit and having a paleo diet. Mary is an eternal student who is always studying a new subject online. Bingley is a doctor and a reality TV star, who had been on a show named Eligible, and his friend Darcy is a neurosurgeon and as haughty as fans of the original will expect. The Bennetts’ step-cousin, Willie, is now a dot-com millionaire, with excellent tech skills and no social skills.
This is a great homage to Pride and Prejudice and I would really recommend fans of the original to give it a try! You can tell Sittenfeld is an Austen fan, and her modern adaptation is a witty, fresh take on the story.
Girl Museum Inc.