I first came across Curtis Sittenfeld with her debut Prep back in 2005. I really enjoyed it but did not read anything else she had written. When Eligible came on my radar, I decided it was high time to read Sittenfeld again. Eligible is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Since it has been many years since I read P&P (I think high school or just after) this was a lovely way to revisit it. This version is set in Cincinnati, and when Mr. Bennett faces a health crisis, Liz and Jane return from their NYC lives to help care for him. The three youngest girls, Kitty, Lydia and Mary all still live at home and mooch off of the parents. Facing a lack of income, the family is set on hard times and Mrs. Bennett is trying to push her girls onto suitors with ample bank accounts.
The plot of Eligible, while playing off of a classic, was still unique and had a great way with small twists that really made the tale. The writing of Curtis Sittenfeld had a very lyrical quality. She was able to imbibe the words with the personalities of the storytellers. The pacing had some small moments of drag, but would always catch back up. The world built was solid but focused more on the players than on the locations. The emotions ran high in Eligible, much like the original. Love, hate, drama and family all blended very well to create a tie to the writing. The characters came across as old friends revisited. I was annoyed with the majority of the players, as I was with them in P&P, but they still made you care for them even when they were being ridiculous.
I am glad I decided to read Eligible and re-discover Curtis Sittenfeld. The modern twist to a classic really worked. When you can take a book originally set in the early 1800’s and update it to include reality shows, diversity and boomerang children, and have it all work you know you have a winner. Plus Mr. Darcy was still dreamy. Even if you are not a classic lover, this book should appeal as it has enough modern turns to make it a thoroughly enjoyable read.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.