Rating – 5 out of 5
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is Pride and Prejudice for the modern era. Liz and her sister Jane have been called back to their family home in Cincinnati, OH to take care of their ailing father. Successful in everything but love, their mother makes the most of their appearance by trying to introduce them to every eligible bachelor she can find. This modern telling of a beloved classic has all the same twists and turns as the original, with even a few more put in.
“There’s a belief that to take care of someone else, or to let someone else take care of you—that both are inherently unfeminist. I don’t agree. There’s no shame in devoting yourself to another person, as long as he devotes himself to you in return.”
-Curtis Sittenfeld, Eligible
Why I liked Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pride and Prejudice holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in a very female household and often Jane Austen and other Regency Era novel creations for the screen were often showing. Even though Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite, Eligible probably has to be my second (sorry, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!).
The updates to the book for the modern era were quite brilliant. The quote above comes from Katherine De Bourgh (a noted feminist), there are diverse ethnic characters and LGBTQ characters. Even the points where Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were racist or homophobic were brilliant since they lived up to their counterparts in the source material. Truly by the end of this book, I was hooked. I wanted to know what how everything turned out. While these characters, at first blush, were not the same as I knew before. By the end of Eligible, though, I was throughly convinced that these were the same characters and the same story. I felt the same emotional release at the end. If you are an Austen fan, I cannot more highly recommend this book.
P.S. If you haven’t read Sittenfeld’s essay about her friend, Sam, please do. It was at the end of this book and made me cry. Cherish your friends. You can find it here
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