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Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld, Random House, 2016, 488 pp
This retelling of Pride and Prejudice gave me some of the most reading fun I have had this year. Paul Beatty's The Sellout and Mat Johnson's Loving Day were close runners up though based on the more serious subject of racism. Eligible is about 21st century white people behaving badly.
I don't feel any need to rehash the plot except to say that Sittenfeld hewed closely to Pride and Prejudice while cleverly recreating the major plot points to fit contemporary American society. If we found the Bennet family annoying in the original version and Darcy enigmatic, we are quite completely exasperated by these characters in Eligible. Meanwhile we are laughing all the way.
So to the naysayers out there who called the novel trashy (yes, intentional), over-the-top (yes and so was Jane Austen in her time), not what they expected (what, did you really just want to read Pride and Prejudice again?), I say I am sorry you didn't get it and if you don't think there are families like this today in America, you must be living under a rock.
This is Darcy and Liz with cellphones, reality TV, tabloids, and the insidious class consciousness still with us. But it also shows us that people can change, terrible teens do grow up, and the parents will never understand.
(Eligible is currently available in hardcover on the shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)