When I received an advance reader copy of “Eligible” from Random House, I barely could wait to start reading it.
If only that elation could have lasted throughout the whole novel.
The basic premise of “Pride and Prejudice” is there, but it has lost all of its beauty.
First things first, Curtis Sittenfeld has talent — there is no denying that.
However, I only gave this book two out of five stars. Furthermore, I actually finished this book back in February, but have put off reviewing it until now hoping that it would grow on me — it hasn’t.
There is not a single character in the entire novel that I actually like. Bingley and Darcy are the most tolerable of the bunch. I didn’t think it was actually possible to ruin the character of Darcy, but apparently it was.
Of the Bennet family, Lydia and Kitty were annoying; Mary barely present, except for her sisters to rag on; Jane weak; and Lizzy pathetic.
Georgianna Darcy might as well have been left out, as pointless as her almost nonexistent page time was.
The elder Bennets actually were probably the closest to their characters in the book, except that I found there to be very little to actually admire in Mr. Bennet.
The story was reduced to reflect only the romantic aspect of the original — instead of a social satire with wit throughout, what readers actually receive is a novel so packed with the “social issues” of today that it is more of a reflection on the author’s personal social beliefs.
I don’t know that I ever have been more disappointed in a novel.
I will say that the bookis paced well and moves at a good clip, pulling you along — but only to a conclusion that is a watered-down mockery of the original.
Don’t even get me started on the bizarre and pointless epilogue that just needed to be left out.
Overall, while the writing was fantastic, the story itself just made me want to throw the book across the room.
If you are not a diehard Austen fan and just want a well-written book, go ahead and pick this up.
However, if you love the characters Austen created, you should probably pass this by — you won’t find them here.