Eligible Review

book review

This book is not eligible as one of my favorites of the year.

Pride and Prejudice gets a modern twist in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible that follows magazine writer Liz Bennet as she moves back to Cincinnati to assist with her family after a health scare with her father. When wealthy (and single) doctor Chip Bingley moves to town and brings along his fellow (single) doctor friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mrs. Bennet sees it as an opportunity to marry her daughters off. However, Liz and Darcy find themselves at odds.

I’ve seen this book around a lot and thought I remembered hearing decent reviews about it. When I was looking for a fluffy and fun read, I noticed this in my local library’s collection of e-books and decided to check it out. Unfortunately, there were many aspects of this book that I didn’t enjoy and it ranks as my least favorite modernization of Pride and Prejudice that I’ve read.

One of my greatest annoyances with this book would have to be the pacing. This book moves very slowly and it didn’t help that it included many paragraphs irrelevant to the plot or even what was going on at the time in the story. I found myself trudging through backstories or descriptions unnecessary to the overall story which made my overall reading experience less enjoyable. I also found this book way too long as a whole. When I thought I finally would be getting to the major action in the story, I was only about 50% through the book. Additionally, this book included several cringe-worthy lines, particularly in romantic scenes. Overall, I think a lot could be cut out from this book to make it more interesting and tight.

Another gripe that I have with this book is the main character, Liz. In this book, I think the author took all of the qualities that made Elizabeth so likable and made them so overdone that they became annoying. Liz comes across like too much of a know-it-all ad too much of a control freak. In fact, some of Liz’s actions came across as a little more overbearing than her mother, such as starting to sell the family home without her parent’s permission. As a result, it made it difficult for me to like her character and even more difficult to invest in the story line.

I think the most problematic element in this book for me is the one-dimensional treatment and poor representation of other characters within this book. Every character was shown through only one personality trait which made them fall flat for me. This especially showed through concerning characters in minorities. If a character was a minority, this was used for “shock factor” within the book to make it seem like the Bennet sister were drastically more modern. As a whole, I wasn’t a fan of how the author portrayed or tried to modernize any of the characters.

Overall, I was unimpressed by Eligible on a number of fronts. Looking back, I didn’t really find myself enjoying this book as I read it. Instead, I trudged through just to finish the book. I give this book two out of five stars.

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