A review by wordssearched
Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld


The problem with most modern updates of Austen stories comes from the attempt to modernize the circumstances and the plot. You can't. There is very little equivalency to be found in the lives of women in Regency England and our lives today. What's missed is the essence of Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship--the idea of liking a person in spite of yourself--and Austen's subtle commentary on social norms of the day. Thankfully, though, Curtis Sittenfeld gets it. Eligible is enjoyable because of the cheeky way she has brought beloved characters into the modern world: Elizabeth is a writer and Darcy is a surgeon (obviously); thoughtful, levelheaded Jane is a yogi; Bingley is a charming reality TV star; Kitty and Lydia are into cross-fit; Mrs. Bennet is a country club bigot with a shopping addiction; Lady Catherine is a thinly fictionalized version of Gloria Steinem (I know!); and Wickham is . . . well, that's just too good to be spoiled here. What makes the narrative really excel, though, is that like Austen, Sittenfeld dissects society's enduring obsession with what women do with their lives clinically and comically. Here, finally, is a version of the story that does the original proud.