Sittenfeld's version of the Austen classic features a lot less dancing and letter-writing than the original, and a lot more alcohol and sex.
Why I love it
Whenever I discuss Pride and Prejudice with a friend, the first question I ask is: "Jane or Elizabeth?" Whether a person favors Jane (sweetness and calm personified), or Elizabeth (tough as nails but with an aching heart – and loins) tells me a lot.
The same is the case for Eligible, written by the entertaining and clever Curtis Sittenfeld. In this contemporary retelling of the brewing behemoth of sexual desire that is Pride and Prejudice - let's not pretend otherwise - Liz Bennett has been modernized into a jaded 38-year-old magazine writer living in Brooklyn; her sister Jane is a yoga instructor, and her flame Mr. Darcy is a brain surgeon.
Sittenfeld's version of the Austen classic features a lot less dancing and letter-writing than the original, and a lot more alcohol and sex. But the path to true love remains - as always - bumpy. Liz and Darcy circle each other, in ways both expected and unexpected, and even Pride and Prejudice devotees will be captivated by their "will they or won't they?" games. Sounds perfect, right?
And perfect it absolutely is. A perfectly hilarious and engaging read that will send you back to thumb through Pride and Prejudice to check the corresponding details. But not until you've reached the satisfying and yet still surprising ending of Eligible. Love really does overcome all - even reality TV.
Sittenfeld offers a marvelous lesson about relationships: channeling Jane - the author, not the character - we can have it all: lust, love, friendship, and even a lasting dÃ©tente with our families, to say nothing of our in-laws. And the "Elizabeth or Jane" test holds up perfectly for this modern adaptation. Those of you readers who identify with Elizabeth probably need to chill out a bit - don't be so judgmental! - and those of you who identify with Jane need to ease up on the yoga and try a bout of kickboxing. Readers of the world, get your Austen on.