Monday, November 6, 2017

#6 [2017/CBR9] "Eligible" by Curtis Sittenfeld

The problem with waiting way too long to write reviews is that I forget all the details. I read Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld because it's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, and it was on NPR's list of recommended books from 2016. I remember enjoying it. It was fun and well done, inspired by Pride and Prejudice without being too tied to it.

Liz Bennett is a magazine writer while her sister Jane is a yoga instructor, and they both live in NYC. Jane is almost forty and ready to start a family while Liz is thirty-eight [both are significantly older than the original, but I appreciate that it accurately reflects modern American culture when it comes to marriage]. They hurry home to the suburbs of Cincinnati when they hear that their father has collapsed. Liz quickly realizes that her mother and three useless younger sisters are not capable of caring for their recovering father and deteriorating house. Jane and Liz choose to stay in Cincinnati to help out for awhile.

Chip (Mr. Bingley) is an emergency room doctor at the local hospital in Cincinnati. He was recently on the Bachelor-like show Eligible but did not find a wife. His good friend, Darcy, is a neurosurgeon at the same hospital. Mrs. Bennett, not one to let an eligible bachelor slip by, makes sure he meets her daughters.

The book continues with many familiar plot points updated for this new time and place. Kitty and Lydia are useless, annoying, and inappropriate, but now they are Crossfit addicts, living at home. Instead of dealing with the laws of inheritance, the family home is now in peril because of mortgages and maintenance issues. At times it feels as though Sittenfeld throws every modern issue around into this book. There is IVF pregnancy as well as interracial and transgender relationships.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book. It did not have quite the same tone as the original, often feeling more frantic, but if you can allow the two books to be both separate and both enjoyable, then I think most would find this one fun.

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