A Novel

Book - 2017
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Publisher: New York : Random House, 2017
ISBN: 9780812980349
Characteristics: 506 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Austen, Jane 1775-1817 Pride and prejudice


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Jul 16, 2019

Disappointing. The leading lady was incredibly unlikable. The whole family was perceived as not only a family who lacked finess (expected) but lacked integrity and over all self respect.

I will say the author did a great job at developing the characters and the family banter was clever and relatable (minus the huge amount of vulgarity).
Overall I wouldn’t recommend. Especially to the lovers of the original story.

Jan 03, 2019

Calling Eligible a modern retelling of Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice hardly prepares you for this version of the story. Though true, you may not be braced for how much pop culture and parody Sittenfeld has injected into the beloved novel. The storyline is the same - there are a couple of character plot lines that have changed - but mostly it is true to original plot.
Have you ever imagined the Bennett family in modern times? Some of us fans may have seen the modern retelling movies - the Bollywood version or the 2003 Utah-based version. Both (purposely?) set in cultures where family, virtue and reputation are still primary - like in Austen's day. But what if the Bennet clan were just a bunch of xennial/millennial basic b----es? This is the world Sittenfeld has painted and it is fun, fresh and witty. We have Crossfit, Reality-Dating Shows, Silicon Valley nerds and artificial insemination whirling around the Eligible world. We also experience transgender and race diversity on the scene. Critics of the novel do not feel those were admirably handled, though one might see that as Sittenfeld's point. Sittenfeld was not afraid to make Lizzie - a most beloved character - even more flawed than her 19th century counterpart. Beware that her pride - and the resulting character flaws of such a vice (control, arrogance, lack of self awareness, etc) is visibly aired out with all the Bennets' dirty laundry.
I avoided this novel at first because of the variance in reviews. Some loved and enjoyed this story and some hated it - calling it utter trash. Loving Austen's original work does not guarantee you will like Sittenfeld's version, but it also doesn't guarantee you will hate it. But I find it merits a chance. Sittenfeld's version is consistent and creative. I admire what she's done with the story and feel that she was true to the nature of Austen's characters put into a particular scene of modern day. It has taught me to not always rely on reviews to tell me what to pick up next - if anything a divided population might be the most enjoyable experience.

Aug 03, 2018

I was really disappointed in this book. The whole thing is overblown. Just one of the weird situations might have - more delicately handled - been funny. Ladling melodrama atop melodrama made it nauseating as well as boring.

The characters all lack charm. Vulgarity is their defining attribute. Austen’s Kitty, Lydia and Mrs. Bennett were vulgar - but there’s vulgar and there’s VULGAR. It was hard to care what might become of any one of Sittenfeld’s characters, including Jane, Mr. Bennett and especially Lizzie.
Jane Austen said of her work that it was like using a very fine brush to paint details onto an ivory miniature. This author slings buckets of virulently-coloured paints at a very large, coarse-grained canvas.

Sep 05, 2017

I only read the first 30 pages of this book but would not recommend it as the language and situations were inappropriate although common in today's world.

ArapahoeStaff11 Jul 17, 2017

A quick, lighthearted retelling of "Pride and Prejudice" set in contemporary Cincinnati. Lots of laughs!

VaughanPLAlyssia Feb 23, 2017

My first reaction to this book was an eyeroll (seriously, another Pride and Prejudice retelling?!) but some friends recommended it so I gave it a chance. And I’m glad I did! Eligible is such a fun read, and keeps you hooked even if you know the general plot points from the original. The modernization actually works really well; Sittenfeld made the right changes where needed to make the story work in the 21st century. Although the characters are much more unlikeable in this version (they can be mean and vicious where the originals were just kind of dumb and harmless), it doesn’t ruin the reading experience. And Elizabeth and Darcy are still a great couple!

Feb 09, 2017

I am such a fan of the original Pride and Prejudice that I had a difficult time liking this book at all. It was sort of vapid and vulgar.

Feb 08, 2017

The most enjoyable book I have read in a long time! A smart and funny read, I absolutely loved it.

cmlibrary_lmansfield Nov 18, 2016

I had a hard time getting into this book (something about the very short chapters and large family), but ended up loving it. I became very invested in the characters and their story. Romantic and fun.

seagrace Oct 13, 2016

I admit trepidation when I first approached this modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Sittenfeld's style is witty and engaging, and she does a fine job of resetting the story in the 21st century with all its very un-18th century problems. She gives all the characters the foibles and flaws that Austen did making them familiar, endearing and frustrating all at the same time If you are an Austen purist, you may want to avoid this book - it will make you mad! But maybe not -- give it a try!

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SPL_Brittany May 21, 2016

Fourth book in the Austen Project, Curtis Sittenfeld brings us a modern retelling of Jane Austens’ Pride and Prejudice, and transports us both time and place to the United States in the 21st century. Liz Bennet is a magazine writer in New York, who, like her older Yoga instructor sister Jane, is in her late thirties. They are called home to Cincinnati when their father has a health scare and discover their childhood home crumbling and family in disarray. Liz and Jane decide to stay home to help take care of their father, while Mrs. Bennet is busy planning and organizing a social event for her Ladies group, and worrying about getting her daughters married. The youngest sisters are too busy to get jobs let alone help out at home. Kitty and Lydia are occupied with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets, while Mary is holed up in her room earning her third degree online.
At a Fourth of July barbeque hosted by the Lucases, the Bennet’s are introduced to Chip Bingley, a doctor who recently was on the reality dating show Eligible, and his friend Mr. Darcy - a neurosurgeon who also works at the same hospital. On first impressions, Chip and Jane take an immediate interest in each other, while Darcy reveals himself to be less than charming, to an eavesdropping Liz.
Fans of Jane Austen will enjoy Sittenfeld’s hilarious modern adaptation of a beloved classic, tackling gender, class, courtship and family. Readers will enjoy the authors’ leisurely pace and snarky banter between Liz and Darcy as well as a few plot surprises!

Shelf Life Review in the Stratford Gazette May 2016


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