Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Publisher: Random House
I have read Pride and Prejudice, but I actually hated the whole thing (I’m kind of thinking I need to give it another go, though). I received Eligible free through NetGalley, so I figured I’d give it a try and not be too skeptical about it.
I think why I loved this book so much is because I didn’t take it quite so seriously as Pride and Prejudice. It’s so ridiculous! Not that there weren’t time in Pride and Prejudice didn’t seem that way to me, but Eligible was so beyond. It’s almost like a parody to me. I found it so funny and crazy, but for the most part it still seemed realistic to me. I could see all of this actually happening, though may not all to the same person. Jan and Liz, obviously the two most sane people in the family, were the ones to whom I felt the most connected, and I really felt for them as they each went through their ups and downs in the book. I think the author achieved a very difficult thing in this book: making me laugh at the ridiculousness of everything, but still getting me to connect with some of the characters and events.
Now, besides some loosely based stories, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a retelling of a classic before (at least not one so obviously advertised as such). Definitely not one where I’ve actually read the classic. I think the idea of retellings is fantastic, and I own a number of them. Eligible has set a pretty high bar for all future retellings on my list. I knew the plot and who ends up with whom, but something still felt completely unpredictable here. There were twists that I totally didn’t see coming and caught myself remembering things about the Pride and Prejudice plot that I’d forgotten.
Read this if you like funny books that cant still get to you. And don’t be afraid of the size. It seems huge, but I read it all in one day. Four stars.