It is a truth universally acknowledged that I will devour any Pride & Prejudice adaptation as quickly as possible. And Eligible proved to be no different. This is the second modernized version of Pride & Prejudice that I’ve read (the first being Bridget Jones’s Diary, of course), and the third that I’ve, I don’t know, CONSUMED if you include the very excellent Lizzie Bennet Diaries. (And why wouldn’t you?)
This version has updated our favorite characters for modern times, and provided them with new challenges, but they remain as likeable as ever. And the book gave me a major case of The Swoons, which, aside from some sassy barbs at social gatherings, is really all I’m asking from a Jane Austen adaptation.
Eligible is #4 of The Austen Project, where current writers have taken on the tough task of updating Austen for the modern age. This is the first I’ve read of this series, so I can’t speak to the others in the project, but I super enjoyed this one. (Again, though, I would read almost anything P&P-related so your mileage may vary.)
Our heroine, of course, is Liz Bennet, a New York magazine writer, who travels home (to Cincinnati, my neck of the woods) with her sister, Jane (a yoga instructor), after their father has a heart attack. At home, they are joined by middle-sister Mary, who seems to be hiding a secret, and Kitty and Lydia, who are as silly as ever, still obsessed with clothes and hair and men but now also CrossFit. Their mother is obsessed with marrying all of them off, just like in the original, but she’s been updated with a country club membership and a shopping addiction.
This Darcy is just as pretentious in the beginning, and has a hard time understanding Liz’s humor, or the rest of the Bennet family in general. He’s a hot shot doctor who has recently come to work at a nearby hospital with his best friend, Bingley. Bingley is fresh off of a reality dating show called Eligible. He and Jane hit it off, but things quickly become complicated as a result of the almost-40 Jane’s relationship with her IVF treatments.
Darcy and Liz’s growing affection is just as much fun to read in this as it’s been in everything else. Call me predictable I DON’T CARE. There are roadblocks aplenty for all of our soon-to-be-happy (spoiler alert?) couples, and it’s great fun to watch it all unfold.
I am curious, though, are the other novels in The Austen Project this much fun? I’m almost afraid to read them, just in case they aren’t.
Help me, Cannonballers, you’re my only hope!