- Non Fiction
Eligible: The book of the summer by Curtis Sittenfeld
List Price: £14.99
Hardcover: 528 Pages.
Published: 21 April 2016 by The Borough Press
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.
Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .
Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
by Sara Eames
A thoroughly modern P&P
I have to say that, despite initial reservations about relocating Pride and Prejudice to America, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It keeps the essence of Austen's original without sticking slavishly to the plot. The characters are all there, albeit with modern names, and the main points of the plot are covered too. However, there are one or two twists that make the story stand out. All the characters are well-written and easily recognised, the plot moves at a steady pace and the whole book is, in my opinion, completely enjoyable. Once started, I did not want to put it down and had a smile on my face for the majority of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone (unless you don't want Jane Austen's book changed in any way, shape or form - but, if that is the case, then I doubt you would pick this up in the first place). I think it is worth giving it a try - you might be pleasantly surprised.
An absolute joy and a delight - clever and funny
“Eligible” is one of a series of modern retellings of the Jane Austen classics and is the fourth after “Northanger Abbey”, “Emma” and “Sense and Sensibility”. As the original author’s most loved book I was particularly apprehensive about what an American author would do to this story by relocating to it modern day Cincinnati. I am delighted to say that what the author has done is wonderful.
This novel is the original story and contains the same themes but the author hasn’t slavishly reproduced all the characters and events in the same way. Mr Bingley is actually a rich doctor who has been involved in a reality show to choose a wife, Lydia Bennet’s indiscretion is very different and what Mr Darcy does to save the family is highly inventive. You sort of know what will happen because you know the original book but the author has done such an excellent job of reimagining it that you are still surprised – it’s like getting the best of both worlds.
What hasn’t changed is the essential character of Liz(zie) and Darcy. Liz is a capable woman with her own career who comes to help out her family who have significant debts after Mr Bennet’s treatment for a heart condition. She is essentially good hearted and very witty and she takes against Darcy who is a distinguished doctor because of his rude comments about Cincinnati women and his efforts to make his friend Chip Bingley discard Liz’s elder sister Jane. Mr Bennet still has a significant reservoir of wry humour and Mrs Bennet is still desperate for her girls to marry. The younger girls are lewd and embarrassing and continually let the family down in public – although Mary’s secret activities breathes new life into the sister who is least mentioned by Jane Austen.
I thought the book was clever and very funny. I am pretty sure it could be enjoyed by anyone who hasn’t read the original but if you have, and you are prepared to see the author do something completely different with it, then this is a marvellous adaptation. I think that Val McDermid’s version of “Northanger Abbey” is clever and enjoyable but this is really completely different and an excellent novel in its own right as well as a great tribute to the enduring legacy of Jane Austen.
I wasn’t at all sure about the cover though …..