“….the characters and the plot line were very entertaining. At the very least, Eligible will leave you yearning to reread Pride and Prejudice, which is always a great idea.”
Eligible is a modern day retelling of Pride and Prejudice complete with the original cast, including swoon-worthy Mr. Darcy. Eligible follows the Bennett family as they navigate their seemingly endless array of problems—some recognized and others not.
Liz Bennett is a late thirty-year-old who is still trying to get her life together along with all of her other family members. Her mother, a well to do (or so it seems) lady who lunches, is oblivious to her surroundings which fit her conservative and prejudicedviews and simply wishes for all of her four daughters to be married. Mr. Bennett is full of snarky one-liners and hovers just on the periphery of his family’s life and offers very little support in the way of participating in solving his own problems.
The sisters-Lydia, Mary, and Jane- each come with their own set of problems. In fact, Eligible was full of never ending problems for the Bennett family and problems that Liz sought, either willingly or unwillingly, to solve herself. Jane, the eldest, and frankly, the most level headed Bennett sister finds herself desperate for a child but lacking a male counterpart. Lydia and Mary, the youngest Bennett sisters, find themselves still living at the Bennett family home, neither married nor with careers—unless you count their affection for Crossfit (If you have ever done Crossfit, like myself, or been around people who Crossfit, and let’s face it—you have and you know this because they tell you—you will appreciate the snark and Crossfit-laden humor throughout the book).
Interspersed throughout Eligible, Mr. Darcy makes appearances and you find yourself longing for more interaction between Darcy and Liz Bennett. Perhaps this was what kept me interested in the book the most. Although you know from reading Pride and Prejudice that Darcy and Liz are paramours, Eligible’s modern retelling of their story is different enough, and modern enough, to keep you wanting to know more.
Curtis Sittenfeld’s style of writing was unique and took some getting used to. Perhaps it was because of the ode to Jane Austen, but the overall style of Sittenfeld’s writing was very reminiscent of more classical works. Sittenfeld also had drastic differences in the length of his chapters—some were as short as two paragraphs while others lasted for pages. This was intriguing to me and I’m not really sure I enjoyed it as a reader. It was almost as if you were watching a sitcom and you got brief segments of what was going on with the main characters.
Eligible was a fun, playful read. It largely reminded me of the readership experience of Big Little Lies, a quick read, and one that you could imagine turned into a movie. There was no major angst or strong emotions with Eligible, but the characters and the plot line were very entertaining. At the very least, Eligible will leave you yearning to reread Pride and Prejudice, which is always a great idea.