Eligible: A Novel is “A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice.”
This does not – as I initially assumed – mean it will remind you of Pride and Prejudice like the way The Tea Planters Wife reminded me of Rebecca (at first anyway); the characters and plot of this new book are literally modeled after Pride and Prejudice.
This book is part of the Austen Project, which pairs six bestselling contemporary authors with Jane Austen’s six complete works.
In this modern retelling, set in Cincinnati, Mrs. Bennet remains overbearing and super annoying about wanting all of her daughters, especially the older two, married yesterday. Bingley is a doctor who recently appeared on a reality dating show called Eligible, which is obviously modeled after the Bachelor (a super fun plot for me because I admit I am a fan!).
And instead of obsessing over handwritten letters as everybody figures everything out, this modern version, of course, uses text messages.
So does it work?
My opinion is YES it does, for the most part.
Especially in the beginning, I can’t remember having more fun reading a book. I loved seeing how the author updated the details, for example the creepy Mr. Collins who was the clergyman/cousin Mrs. Bingley wanted Elizabeth to marry is now a tech guru step-cousin. It was fun to remember the plot details of the original as the updated plot unfolded. Some of the updated details were quite surprising!
It occurred to me to wonder what someone would think of the book not having read the original. I cannot say for sure but I don’t think it would be so great. The new book’s merit certainly stands on what it is obviously re-telling.
The book did drag on a bit long and there were some odd parts including the final chapter. I was more? annoyed with the new Liz’s “prejudice” as the story wraps up. But overall, and I expect some literary purists may disagree with me: I loved it and recommend this most extreme example of intertexuality as a more-than-acceptable tribute to the original.
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