[642]: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld



by Curtis Sittenfeld

Random House Canada | April 19th, 2016 | 4 out of 5 Stars

I can never say no to a good Pride & Prejudice retelling. In fact, I have a shelf dedicated specifically to P & P published fan fiction. I must admit that it has been a while since I’ve read one told in a contemporary era. The last one was so bad I never wanted to read another retelling after that. Eligible, thankfully, was a fantastic modern retelling of a well-loved book. Sittenfeld truly grabbed it by the horns and directed the story as she saw fit. But she stayed true to what we’ve come to love about the book.

Majority of us probably have read the book or seen the BBC series – or the films for that matter. In here, we find slight variations to each of the characters’ roles. Like Wickham for one. Oh, trust me, he was still a douchebag. But the difference here is, he’s been Liz’s friend for years. His connection with Darcy would’ve been inconsequential had Darcy not played a role in the reason for Wick’s hatred.

Liz is a writer for women’s magazine in a different calibre as say, Cosmopolitan. They tackled issues with social relevance affecting women. Which is why I had a tough time stomaching the way she let Wick treated her. She was a strong, independent woman who – unfortunately – fell victim to what she thought was love. Her strained interactions with Darcy were comical at best. Expect the usual, “I want to marry you despite your family being poor and screwed up” hi-jinx.

Speaking of Liz’s family, well, Lydia created a different problem for the Bennett matriarch. One involving an elopement with a transgender – which, in this day and age shouldn’t really matter. But because Mrs Bennett is the worst kind of bigot in this interpretation, dramatics ensued. Mary is as studious as ever with opinions of her own. Suspected of being a lesbian didn’t sit well with Mrs Bennett. She seems to disappear time and time again and they didn’t know where she was going. That is until Kitty tracked her down and exposed her secrets.

Then we come to Jane and Bingley –  which really is where I should’ve started with this review because the title of the book references a reality tv show (ala, The Bachelor) where Bingley was first discovered. He’s a doctor looking for forever. Unfortunately, he couldn’t pick one woman so at the kiss-awarding ceremony, he broke down and cried. Cried like a baby because he didn’t want either of the women left. So yeah. He’s rich, he’s a doctor. Looking for love and found one in Ohio, no less. Until his meddling sister, Caroline Bingley interfered.

I’m sorry that this review is going a bit longer than I’d like. But I have so much to say about this book. Overall, it’s a great retelling. It was funny. It was important. It subtly discussed some of the social issues relevant to the on-going problems facing the U.S. right now. I also love how intensely conservative ma and pa Bennett were while the kids are considerably liberal-minded. It’s a delight to see Ms. Sittenfeld update a most beloved classic –  to see how the Bennetts would fare in today’s society even if it’s just a supposition.

  • Kara Lauren

    I so need to read this one, but I still haven’t read Prep by Curtis which came out 10 years ago..and I own it…ugh!! 🙂

  • Yaaay for liking this book a lot 😀 Gorgeous review Joy. <3 And hugs. Having lots to say about a book is the best 🙂 And eee! New blog look? 😀 I like it. <3 Hope you are doing great sweet girl 🙂

  • I just have to say, Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star? That’s hilarious! What was that author thinking!
    This one sounds pretty good though Joy, I love Pride and Prejudice and can’t wait to read how they fare being brought back to life in the modern day and touching on social issues as well. That cover is a bit naff though, I hope people take a chance on this one and pick it up. Looking forward to grabbing a copy. Brilliant review luv <3

  • Natalie

    I really enjoyed this one, too. I’m actually quite over P&P retellings but I love Curtis Sittenfeld’s writing (I’ve read Prep no less than 10 times), so I knew that hers would be worth picking up. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • This isn’t one that would typically catch my eye but I DO think I would rather enjoy it! 🙂

  • Jazmen

    Sounds like the kind of thing we need to be reading right now. Nice review, Joy.

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    I’m so glad you liked this one! It’s one of my favorite books of the year. I loved this modern retelling and the incorporation of The Bachelor –so fun! Great review!

  • I really want to try this one!!

  • RO

    A cup of tea(love that cup!), and a good book sounds perfect right now. The character development sounds amazing! I can tell from your amazing review, that this would be a fun and clever read, and plan to pick this one up. Hugs…

  • Melliane

    It’s always so much fun to have a good retelling of P&P, I agree! I didn’t know about this one though

  • Glad to hear you had better luck with this one, Joy. I pretty much hated every character. I thought Ms. Sittenfeld went over the top with her interpretation, almost like she had to hit every relationship variation to make it hip and modern.

  • Ahh, I can’t decide if I want to read this! I was interested, for obvious reasons, but then I read how Curtis Sittenfeld said some not so nice things about romance novels…and you know those are my new favorite thing! To be honest, even if I decide I want to, I probably won’t get to it, though I’m really glad you enjoyed it Joy! (I’m deeply curious about your P&P shelf, too!)

  • I’ve been debating trying this one out. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Not sure how I feel about this one here. I do like the sound of this one being a retelling and that it hints at current issues going on today at the same time as staying true to the original story. But I just don’t like the original Pride and Prejudice story. I think the character change in Mr. Darcy for no particular reason isn’t realistic or rational at all.. and then the pretentious characters bother me. I know they are meant to be that way but pretentiousness is just not a virtue I can handle haha.

  • I admit it. I have never read P&P. But I did see the movie more than once and loved it. Does that count? This sounds nicely done. Very thoughtful review!

  • I do plan to borrow it from the library, but I did hear how she talked dirt about romance or smth, did not like that

  • Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I have to admit to not liking Pride and Prejudice. Can we still be friends? On top of that, I’ve had the worst luck with retellings and even those that worked for everyone simply didn’t work for me. But I love that you have a P&P fan fiction shelf! That’s dedication right there.

  • Lily

    Ahh a P& P retelling! YES YES YES! Sign me up!

  • Ooh, I’m so excited for this one!! The ratings are pretty low on Goodreads, but you make it look so good I won’t even care anymore 😀 Great review!!

  • kindlemom1

    OH a completely different type of P & P retelling. So glad it worked for you!

  • Adriana C

    I also love to read Pride and Prejudice retellings, I haven´´t read that many but I love retellings.
    Thanks for our review Joy.

  • This sounds like a true P&P retelling. A lot of times, authors and publishers use a retelling as a hook, like Ivory and Bone, which promises “a reverse retelling of Pride and Prejudice in the prehistoric age.” Okay. LOL.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Ooo it’s been a long time since I’ve read a P&P retelling Joy! I think it just might be time. I love discovering all the changes – big and small – made to beloved characters, and it sounds like some good ones are made here! Definitely adding this to the list:)

  • This literally sounds like the modern adaptation to P&P which sounds wonderful! I’m glad it’s done well as an adaptation to modern times. Lovely review Joy!

  • Kate Bell

    I love your photography! Very dreamlike yet homey.
    As someone who adores terrible dating TV shows (oh yes… The Bachelor AU is one of those shows I watch religiously) and JA adaptations, I’m interested by this book. I’ve read quite a few different P&P versions but this one sounds more fun than many of them. I like the sound of how different this Wickham is. Seems like he’s more like the Lost in Austen version than the original. Will definitely check it out. Great review Joy! 😀