Friday, July 22, 2016


Eligible (The Austen Project #4)Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like I need to start off with a disclaimer - the Keira Knightley version of "Pride & Prejudice" is my dessert island movie aka if I could only watch one movie forever this is the movie that I would choose. I know that's a controversial choice considering my obsession with the Anne movies and the BBC's most recent production of "Sense & Sensibility", and how often I turn on "When Harry Met Sally", but I could watch Darcy propose to Elizabeth a dozen times over and not be tired of it. All of this to say that I am predisposed to love things related to Austen's most famous love story.

Amazingly enough, I was not a believer for at least the first half of this book. Sittenfeld divided her book into 180+ chapters - seriously, a page is not a chapter. And the reader for the audio version, who I had previously loved in her part for "The Help", made almost all the characters seemingly unlikeable. Naturally Sittenfeld's characterization contributed to that, but I was not even liking Jane and Liz very much for how bratty their tones were. That said, I got past it as Darcy and Liz interacted more, and eventually I fell in love with their story and Jane's just like you do in the traditional versions. Not all the updates to the story are great, but the overall effect of setting Austen's classic tale in reality-tv obsessed 2016 Ohio is clever and captivating.

My two caveats to my recommendation are to read the book rather than listen to it. I just don't think this audiobook does the characters any favors, and most importantly I think you need to like Austen's original "Pride & Prejudice" to appreciate "Eligible". Otherwise, I think some of the plot details don't quite make sense. Oh, and one more - some of Mary and Lydia's behavior is so frustrating that it almost ruins whole sections. The reader may again have contributed to that.

Now if you're excuse me, I have a movie to rewatch before Seth gets home from work. I just can't help myself. Happy reading!

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