Eligible – by Curtis Sittenfeld

12 07 2017

If you saw this on the shelf in a bookshop/library/supermarket/etc you’d be forgiven for having no idea that it’s part of The Austen Project!

This is the first time one of the authors has changed the title of their book. I’m not entirely sure why they did it, but who am I to judge? I think I’ve enjoyed this one the most so far. Some of the previous books have just modernised by throwing in facebook and mobile phone references, but this one had a full blown revamp.

Liz is 38 and a writer for a magazine, Jane is 39 and a yoga instructor, and they live in New York, but have had to go back to the family home as Mr Bennet has a heart attack. Lydia, Kitty and Mary are in their 20s and still living at home and pretty much just living off of the family money. Chip Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy are Doctors/Surgeons, and Chip has recently become famous on a reality TV show called “Eligibe” which is essentially The Bachelor. The Collins subject is dealt with by changing him from a cousin (which was fine to marry in those days!) to a step-cousin (technically fine, but still a bit weird), which seemed like a really sensible change to make.

They don’t stick religiously to the plot either. I won’t ruin this with spoilers but there are two separate characters that take a story line each of Willoughby’s character from the original, there’s IVF, a LGBTQ subplot, and as already mentioned, reality TV – definitely a long way from Austenland, and yet, while you’re reading it, you don’t feel far off at all.

Mr Bennet is still the same wonderful man, and definitely one of my favourite characters with some of the best one liners.

“My dear,” said Mr Bennet, “if a sock puppet with a trust fund and a Harvard medical degree moved here, you’d think he was meant to marry one of our girls.”

“Plenty of men don’t want children.” Mr Bennet took a sip of coffee. “I’m still not sure that I do.”

Advertisements