This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.
Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.
Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .
And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.
Sittenfeld delivers an incredibly edgy modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Borrowing certain aspects from the original, we are quickly ushered into current times. A few similarities blended with new twists and thoughts deliver an unforgettable plot along with characters.
Chip and Darcy both add a new flavor and perspective in this contemporary interpretation. I found Mr Bennett absolutely hilarious with his hysterical one liners leaving me impressed with the many writing facets of Sittenfeld proving she is a well-rounded writer with a knack for smart witt. The Bennett sisters were a motley crew, with the exception of Jane and Liz I didn’t care for the others brash and hardness, totally unpolished and coarse.
As much as I enjoyed this clever retelling I found it almost too modern for my taste preferring more of a middle of the road sample relying on a preferred mix leaning towards a hefty chunk of old vs. contemporary without going over the top. I do hold Sittenfeld’s vision in high regard, the plot and characters are somewhat intricate.
No doubt most will find this an entertaining read mostly due to the author and her depth of creativity.
Curtis Sittenfeld is the author of the new novel Eligible, a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice (due out April 2016) as well as the bestselling novels Sisterland, American Wife, Prep, and The Man of My Dreams, which have been translated into twenty-five languages. Curtis’s writing has appeared in many publications, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, Vanity Fair,Time, Slate, Glamour, and on public radio’s This American Life. A graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she currently lives in St. Louis, MO.
Published April 19th 2016 by Random House