Eligible A novel

Curtis Sittenfeld

Book - 2016

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FICTION/Sittenfeld, Curtis
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Love stories
New York : Random House [2016]
First edition
Item Description
"A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice"--Jacket.
Physical Description
492 pages ; 25 cm
Main Author
Curtis Sittenfeld (-)
Other Authors
Jane Austen, 1775-1817 (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Sittenfeld (Sisterland, 2013) transplants the beloved characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from nineteenth-century Regency England to contemporary Cincinnati, Ohio, in this fun, frothy modernization. The Bennet family has similarly fallen on hard times here, thanks to exorbitant medical bills, reckless spending, and the perpetual underemployment of four of the five Bennet daughters. Liz Bennet, the only one holding down a regular job, as a magazine writer, and her older sister, Jane, rush home from New York after their father has heart surgery. Jane is approaching 40 and has decided to have a child on her own, while Liz is pining for Jasper Wick, the feckless married man with whom she's been having an affair. But the two are soon embroiled in new romances. Jane falls for Chip Bingley, a dashing ER doctor who once searched for a wife on a reality show, while Liz fends off the affections of her step-cousin and finds a novel way to channel her feelings of loathing for the elitist but devastatingly handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy. Sittenfeld has updated some of the characters and story lines to better fit a contemporary setting, but her charming retelling is a delightful romp for not only Austen devotees but lovers of romantic comedies and sly satire, as well. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Best-selling Sittenfeld plus Jane Austen? What more could mainstream fiction readers ask for? Eligible will be supported by a sweeping, many-faceted media campaign and an author tour. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this charming modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Sittenfeld (Prep; American Wife) deftly brings Austen's classic into the 21st century. Set in 2013 Cincinnati, it features sisters Liz (a magazine editor) and Jane (a yoga instructor), who return from New York to tend to their recently hospitalized father. There they meet Dr. Chip Bingley, lately of the reality show Eligible, and Dr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The women deal with a host of problems, such as a pair of younger sisters too obsessed with CrossFit to get actual jobs, and a mother with a shopping/hoarding problem who's desperate to see them married off before Jane hits 40. Interwoven into the Bennet family's issues is a fairly faithful adherence to the original plot. Sittenfeld's style is endlessly amusing and, at times, gut-wrenchingly painful. Her take on Austen's iconic characters is skillful, her pacing excellent, and her dialog highly entertaining. Liz, though not quite as sparkling and bright as the original, is still endearing, and Darcy is his usual slightly aloof, stand-up self. VERDICT Austen fans will adore this new offering, a wonderful addition to the genre.—Kristen Droesch, formerly with Library Journal [Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In Sittenfeld's modern version of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet writes for a women's magazine, Jane Bennet teaches yoga, Lydia and Kitty Bennet are Crossfit enthusiasts on paleo diets, heartthrob Chip Bingley is a reality-TV star, and Fitzwilliam Darcy a neurosurgeon. Approaching 40, and definitely not virgins, Liz and Jane leave their jobs in New York to return to the old family house in Cincinnati after their father suffers a heart attack. Their mother, having watched contestants compete for Bingley's hand in marriage on Eligible, believes him to be a great catch for Jane. Her hopes for Liz rest with Silicon Valley tech doofus Willie Collins. Austen fans will recognize Liz and Darcy's instant dislike for each other, their serial misunderstandings and sexual tension, and Jane's quiet goodness, Bingley's sister's snobbishness, and Darcy's sister's vulnerability. Sittenfeld adeptly updates and channels Austen's narrative voice—the book is full of smart observations on gender and money. She contrasts contemporary crassness with Austenesque gentility, as when Liz and Darcy indulge in hate sex and Willie tries to French kiss Liz. No wonder Mr. Bennet laments the death of manners and the rise of overly familiar discourse. The further afield that Sittenfeld strays from Austen, the less compelling and less credible her story is, and the ending sags under the weight of a television-programmed finale. Overall a clever retelling of an old-fashioned favorite, Sittenfeld's latest offers amusing details and provocative choices but little of the penetrating insight into underlying values and personalities that makes the original inimitable. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME Entertainment. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

With her latest, Sittenfeld has crafted an entertaining modern update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, though one that at times strains credulity. Like their Regency counterparts, the 21st-century Bennets are approaching crisis—potential financial ruin as a result of Mr. Bennet's heart attack—but are blissfully oblivious. To put things right, Liz, a successful magazine writer, and Jane, a yoga teacher contemplating artificial insemination, return from New York City to the family home in Ohio. When Chip Bingley, the former star of a Bachelor-esque show and still single, enters the scene with his arrogant sister Caroline and the seemingly pompous Fitzwilliam Darcy in tow, it's clear that romance is on the horizon. While the story is compulsively readable, the pop culture references make it unwieldy at times. As always, Sittenfeld soars when it comes to portraying relationships, and teens will particularly enjoy the witty barbs that fly between Caroline and Liz. Often, however, the author's attempts to hew closely to Austen's plot result in some odd choices. Where in the original, Mrs. Bennet's desire to marry Lizzy off to the unctuous Mr. Collins stemmed from understandable motives, here, her insistence that Liz become involved with her cousin, a socially inept dotcom millionaire, is downright bizarre. Nevertheless, this is an overall breezy read that will have savvy teens laughing. VERDICT Although this work doesn't hold up under close scrutiny, it's an utterly engrossing, hilariously over-the-top send-up that will appeal to Sittenfeld fans, Janeites, and lovers of chick lit.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal. Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Returning with her sister, Jane, to their Ohio hometown when their father falls ill, New York magazine editor Lizzy Bennett confronts her younger sisters' football fangirl antics, a creepy cousin's unwanted attentions, and the infuriating standoffish manners of a handsome neurosurgeon.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK) 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.Praise for Eligible“Even the most ardent Austenite will soon find herself seduced.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Blissful . . . Sittenfeld modernizes the classic in such a stylish, witty way you’d guess even Jane Austen would be pleased.”—People (book of the week) “[A] sparkling, fresh contemporary retelling.”—Entertainment Weekly“[Sittenfeld] is the ideal modern-day reinterpreter. Her special skill lies not just in her clear, clean writing, but in her general amusement about the world, her arch, pithy, dropped-mike observations about behavior, character and motivation. She can spot hypocrisy, cant, self-contradiction and absurdity ten miles away. She’s the one you want to leave the party with, so she can explain what really happened. . . . Not since Clueless, which transported Emma to Beverly Hills, has Austen been so delightedly interpreted. . . . Sittenfeld writes so well—her sentences are so good and her story so satisfying. . . . As a reader, let me just say: Three cheers for Curtis Sittenfeld and her astute, sharp and ebullient anthropological interest in the human condition.”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times Book Review “A clever, uproarious evolution of Austen’s story.”—The Denver Post “If there exists a more perfect pairing than Curtis Sittenfeld and Jane Austen, we dare you to find it. . . . Sittenfeld makes an already irresistible story even more beguiling and charming.”—Elle“A playful, wickedly smart retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”—BuzzFeed “Sittenfeld is an obvious choice to re-create Jane Austen’s comedy of manners. [She] is a master at dissecting social norms to reveal the truths of human nature underneath.”—The Millions“A hugely entertaining and surprisingly unpredictable book, bursting with wit and charm.”—The Irish Times “An unputdownable retelling of the beloved classic.”—PopSugar