There was a lot about Curtis Sittenfeld’s reimagining of Pride and Prejudice that I liked, and a lot that I felt fell flat.
In the pro column:
The whole conceit about Bingley being well known as being in want of a wife due to his being on Eligible – the obvious stand in for The Bachelor – and walking away from the finale not ready to marry any of the finalists. Cute!
Aging the characters up: teenagers being obsessed with getting married just sits differently 200 years later; our Regency old maids are now modern women pushing 40 with the younger Bennetts being early to mid 20s.
The wedge between Jane and Bingley being her being unexpectedly pregnant from IVF from before their meeting.
And my own personal favorite: in P+P, the text hints that maybe Darcy and Elizabeth have some spark beneath their antipathy by their dancing. They dance well enough together that others remark on it, the implication being, well… touching leads to kissing. Kissing leads to sex. Sex leads to dancing. Here, the physical activity that Darcy and Elizabeth are well matched in is running, which ultimately leads to their *ahem* romance.
In the con column:
I REALLY didn’t like Lydia’s “scandal” being marrying a trans man. I don’t like the idea that dating someone trans is as scandalous to a modern audience as Lydia’s indiscretions in P+P. Darcy intervenes here but it’s more of a come to jesus talk with her parents as opposed to the coming in and bailing out the family to save face. If anything, keeping Lydia and Kitty a bit younger (late teens) would have allowed Sittenfeld to keep their arc more or less the same.
The wrap up where the family is all featured on Eligible felt a bit more artificial than the rest of the book.
Mrs. Bennett in P+P was histrionic and in a lot of ways shallow, but ultimately was trying to keep the family home and bring her children their best financial potential (Austen is deceptively cutthroat for her reputation), so her being a compulsive shopper who undermines the family finances just feels wrong.
All in all, a good read, and more to recommend than to condemn, but that first con really sits wrong for me.