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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Contemporary fiction


by Curtis Sittenfeld

Quick take

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 détente 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.

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Member ratings (1,401)

  • Kristin N.

    Lewiston, ID

    I did not think I would enjoy this because it seemed like a parody, but I had so much fun. Slightly disappointed in some character descriptions. I got some good giggles out of it. And Darcy... Lovely!

  • Angelia L.

    Rochester, NY

    I'm a huge fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This doesn't hold a candle to the original, but it was such an enjoyable and entertaining read. Finished it in one sitting and had all the feels

  • Victoria C.

    Allendale, NJ

    Delightful. Quick-Witted. Positively Enjoyable. This modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic honors the original while still having l a completely fresh story by incorporating 21st-century issues.

  • Sandra K.

    Franklin, WI

    Brilliant retelling! Finally, minor characters have a voice, and the interpretation rings true without sounding old-fashioned. Love, pride, money, scandal: everything that made Austen's good is here!

  • Raela S.

    Hopkins, MN

    I had to set a lot of my feelings about the precious original P&P aside, but when I did so, it was interesting to see the story re-cast in a modern setting. Some choices I DEFINITELY disagreed with.