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29 August 2016

Review: 'Eligible' by Curtis Sittenfeld (2016)

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.

It's been quite a while since I've been as excited about a book as I was for the release of Curtis Sittenfeld's 'Eligible.' As some of you might know by now I am a big Jane Austen fan and I was incredibly excited about this new modern-day retelling of her famous novel 'Pride and Prejudice.' The book was released in April this year and I was lucky enough to get a copy of the book for my birthday. I decided to save it for my summer holiday, so I would definitely have a good book to enjoy. So, when I went to the UK for my holiday a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to get started in 'Eligible' and really hoped I would end up enjoying it as much as I expected to...!

Thirty-something Liz Bennet works as a magazine author in New York City, where she lives not far from her older sister Jane, a yoga instructor. When they receive news that their father has been in an accident, they return to their family home in Cincinnati to join their mother and three sisters. While her husband is recovering, Mrs. Bennet is solely focused on how to marry off her daughters and she immediately sees an opportunity for Jane when doctor and reality TV star Chip Bingley comes to town. Liz, on the other hand, gets distracted by his neurosurgeon friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, whom doesn't leave the best first impression but somehow Liz can't get him out of her head...

'Eligible' is the fourth part of The Austen Project, a series of modern-day retellings of Jane Austen's classic novels, and is author Curtis Sittenfeld's own interpretation of Austen's most famous story 'Pride and Prejudice'. I'm a big fan of anything Jane Austen and have to say 'Eligible' is one of my absolute favourite adaptations of the love story so far. I loved the author's writing style (which is comfortable and consists of mainly short chapters with a few longer ones in between), the modern-day setting, and the new interpretation of some of the characters. For example, Mr. Collins has become cousin Willie, a rich whizz kid genius, and Catherine de Bourgh has turned into Kathy de Bourgh, a well-known feminist whom Liz is eager to interview. Next to that, the sisters are also a bit older; Jane is 39 and Liz 38 with the other sisters being in their early thirties and twenties, which obviously fits the modern-day setting really well.

While this is definitely a new interpretation of 'Pride and Prejudice', Curtis Sittenfeld has done a wonderful job staying close to Austen's original, especially when it comes to the witty nature of the story. It made me laugh and shake my head numerous times and I dare to say Austen herself would have loved this retelling as well. The book is quite lengthy, with more than 500 pages, but I personally couldn't get enough of it and wouldn't have minded if it had been 700 pages instead! I'm really glad this adaptation introduced me to Curtis Sittenfeld as well because I definitely plan on picking up one of her other works in the near future. On the whole, 'Eligible' is a fantastic, witty and thoroughly enjoyable modern-day interpretation of Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice', but at the same time also just a great piece of women's fiction, worth picking up whether you're a Jane Austen fan or not.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads


  1. Great review! I loved this adaptation as well. I'd read 2 of the other 3 Austen Project books - I liked Sense & Sensibility and was very disappointed with Emma. This one was exactly what I was hoping for.

    1. Hi Kate, glad to hear you also enjoyed it! I've also read Sense and Sensibility but haven't read any of the others yet!