Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld | Rating: ★★★★☆
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the
publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my
opinions in any way.
Fans of Jane Austen, rejoice! Fans of
Curtis Sittenfeld? Bonus rejoice. Double rejoice. All the rejoice. How
many times can I say rejoice in my review before one of you lot reaches
through my laptop screen to slap me a bit? Okay, I’m calm now. Kind of.
It’s no secret that this little (little?) guy was at the tip top of my
most anticipated this year and that’s for two reasons.
One: I love Jane Austen. A lot. And retellings of her work can be pretty gnarly. Did I say gnarly? I’m sorry.
Two: I love Curtis Sittenfeld.
Like… a lot.
are you guys ready for this one? Because this review has been ages in
the making for me and I wanted to get it just right. But sometimes words
don’t do anything justice and even though this wasn’t my favorite
release of the year, I sure did enjoy it. I have a lot of feelings for
this novel–this beast of a novel, I should say.
First: Eligible is a bit of a time commitment and there’s no way of working around that.
has a way with words that makes even the longest of passages seem
breezy and remains one of those authors that I would literally read a
grocery list by. If you are a fan of her writing, but not a fan of Jane
Austen, you’re still going to enjoy it. Because there’s just an air to
the story that is delicious and fun and inexplicable.
Second, the topic. The retelling. The story to end all stories which will always be huge in our hearts.
Our most beloved romance that never fails to connect with readers of all ages and generations. Where
to begin? When touching a classic that is as beloved as Pride &
Prejudice, there’s going to be a few hitches in the plan. I, myself, am a sucker for these takes but have only truly loved a handful of them: Eligible, happily, is one of those few.
seen countless retellings of this story and it may get tiring a good
chunk of the time. But this take on the Bennett family is fresh and
modern. I enjoyed seeing a modern Liz and Jane and the rest of them. Pride & Prejudice
is one of those rare classics that is timeless and that you can
literally put the characters in almost any situation and it still works.
Eligible, my friends, fucking works.
Curtis Sittenfeld takes a very familiar tale and spins it into something
different but still generic; the real praise comes in how she develops
her characters and how quickly they grow on us. Austen had a very
similar trait when it came down to the characters of Pride & Prejudice and seeing someone else take their spin in her shoes is undeniably satisfying.
I don’t think that Eligible would
have worked had it been penned by any author besides Sittenfeld. I
daresay that she is the best of her generation of writers and it’s a
delight to see her stories told in the way that they are.
this is a very familiar story with different twists and paths and
settings. Diehard fans of Jane Austen may have only lukewarm feelings
towards Eligible but for those of us who are simply here to enjoy the
ride, we’ll feel differently.
Filled with richly imperfect characters, love and a general thoughtful narration, Eligible
hits all the right mark in the realm of retellings. It is the perfect
summertime read and will leave its audience feeling bubbly and cheering
on this version of Liz and Darcy. How could we not root for the two, no
matter the format, to wind up together?
Eligible is a delight from start to finish in my eyes and totally worth a read.