Singled Out! (Or Review: Eligible)

eligibleTitle: Eligible
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Read in: June 2016

Let’s start off by admitting that I am not a Jane Austen megafan. I didn’t pick up Pride & Prejudice until a few years ago and this shocked many of my English degree fans who first read it in high school. I read Emma and disliked it very much, though I did like the movie Clueless. After reading P&P I read P&P& Zombies, which I thought was fun. And I enjoyed both the P&P miniseries with Colin Firth as well as the Keira Knightly version of the film. I actually bought the DVD of the Keira Knightly version. That says a lot. In my mind, though, when I picture these characters in my head, I think of a young Colin Firth for Darcy and Keira Knightly and Rosamund Pike for Jane.
So, having given you my P&P background, I must say that I loved this reboot. Curtis Sittenfeld, whose past novels I have loved (American Wife) and not loved as much (Prep), turned this Jane Austen classic into something current for today’s generation as part of an ongoing project where several authors are retelling Austen classics in a contemporary setting. You’ve got magazine writer Lizzy, yoga instructor Jane, crossfit crazy Lydia, neurosurgeon Darcy and reality star Bingley. Oh yes she did.
While I don’t love the reboots I see of movies and tv shows,I totally fell for this retelling. knowing what I know about P&P I was intrigued to see how she would approach different scenes. Probably the most far fetched was the reality star bit, but the other surprises, a side trip to Silicon Valley, more insight into Mary (honestly, Mary from Austen era is really better understood in the Sittenfeld version) was refreshing. I also felt like she very much did her homework and captured the characters that Austen created very well. The author also, when necessary, made telltale changes to the Austen script as needed, and it didn’t affect me one bit. Example: Surprise, Wickham is split into two characters.
I read this book in a day and immediately recommended it to a few coworkers. One coworker said she already read it and hated it. One read it and walked into the office one day and said, “THEY HAD [SPOILER]??” Yes! One other gave her nod of approval, but for some reason it just really won me over more than others.
In short, I enjoyed it so much I asked the husband to use his kindle lawsuit refund to buy a copy for me (originally I borrowed it). That pretty much means “in a relationship.” Maybe I’m a bigger megafan that I thought.
Recommended for: Contemporary romance/chick flick fans; Jane Austen fans (maybe, they might be put off. I’m not a JA fan. I just love P&P)

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