Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books. I’ll re-read it when other books are letting me down; it’s my brain’s comfort food. It’s not like I’m obsessed (I haven’t booked my P&P Vacation Tour yet, and I don’t even own the colouring book!) or even addicted. Far from it: I can stop reading P&P any time I want. I just don’t want to right now.
As you can imagine, it was with some trepidation that I approached Eligible, the “modern re-telling of Price and Prejudice” by Curtis Sittenfeld. Would the book be silly? Contrived? How would Sittenfeld deal with key phrases and events? Would she follow the story religiously or change it to suit the times? So many questions, only so many nails to bite…
Sittenfeld’s story takes place in Cincinnati, and opens with Chip Bingley and the assertion that everyone knows he’s looking for a wife because he starred in a Bachelor-type reality television series two years before the beginning of the book. So far, so much trepidation.
But fear not!
Eligible is most diverting!
Sittenfeld does an excellent job of retelling the story so that it hews closely enough to Austen’s P&P to satisfy hardcore fans, but veers far enough from a strict re-enactment to keep it interesting and unique. I thought I knew where she was going with certain characters and plot lines, and then she’d (pleasantly) surprise me.
If you’ve never read P&P then Eligible will be a light rom-com, if you are an Austen purist, you might take issue with some of Sittenfeld’s choices, but I found Eligible to be a quick, fun read, and I recommend it regardless of where you fall on the P&P addiction scale.