Review: Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld


Overall Rating: ★★★

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Impressions of the characters: God are they ridiculous, just as they were in Pride and Prejudice, which was in itself a parody of the time. Lizzie however felt slightly weaker in this modern retelling than the Lizzie of old, though I still loved her. Kitty and Lydia are surprisingly fleshed out, Mary continues to be just herself.

The biggest disappointment for me was Mr. Bennet who seemed to harbour none of the love for his daughters that the Mr. Bennet of old did. Actually, scratch that, the biggest disappointment was the hysterical Mrs. Bennet who was an anti-feminist, bigot and horrifically racist. That being said Darcy still managed to be spot on and poor Chip Bingley…poor…weepy Chip.

The plot:

The plot was well fleshed out, but moved quite slowly at times,though in the end I felt better for having read the book. Parts were charming, parts were maddening and some parts were completely a surprise.

All in all, though it did lag at times the book flowed rather smoothly towards its happy end.

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