Book Review: Eligible

IMG_6369.JPG

Synopsis:

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help—and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Youngest sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday-night outings she won’t discuss. And Mrs. Bennet has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming. . . .

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I love Pride & Prejudice retellings. Mainly because I love Pride & Prejudice (even though the only way I was able to finally read it was by listening to the audiobook). I was so happy to choose Eligible as the book for my book club because I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out and this finally gave me an excuse to finally read it and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved it.

At first I was worried I wouldn’t be able to relate to it because Liz is 38 and Jane is almost 40, much older than the original characters, but their age didn’t matter because they were super relatable. I loved their sister bond just as I do in every version of this story but I also loved the other characters. Curtis Sittenfeld did an amazing job of still making these characters feel like the originals but not so much that I just felt like I was reading P&P in the present day.

There were still changes to the story and even a character name change that surprised me a little. I also actually liked how Lydia’s story played out in this version. I never like Lydia, in the original and in most retellings I’ve read/seen, but I will say that this is my favorite version of Lydia thus far. I also really liked what Sittenfeld did with Mary’s character, who definitely gets the short stick in the original novel and also in most retellings.

My biggest issue with this novel was Darcy’s little sister Georgie. I love Georgie and I wanted more for her in this book. I found the way Sittenfeld handled her story line a bit strange and unnecessary and also unresolved. I wish we saw more of her in the novel.

Other than that though I thought Sittenfeld handled this retelling very well. Even the voice of the third person narration reminded me of the original P&P. I heard it in a British accent even though most of this novel takes place in Cincinnati. It just seemed so proper, especially with the use of so many words I needed to look up to understand.

The plot was great, the characters were distinctive, and while you still get the story you expect from P&P, the changes also made this book feel like it’s own story, not just a retelling, which I loved. Definitely give this one a read, especially if you’re a fan of P&P.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“There’s a belief that to take care of someone else, or let someone else take care of you—that both are inherently unfeminist. I don’t agree. There’s no shame in devoting yourself to another person, as long as he devotes himself to you in return.”

Other Reviews

Red Shutters

Austen Prose

Dear Author

Book Review: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 10.53.03 PM

Snyopsis from Amazon.com:

Based on the Emmy Award­-winning “genius” (The Guardian) web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, this is a new novel starring Lizzie’s spunky sister Lydia as she navigates the joys and pitfalls of becoming an adult in the digital age.

Before her older sister, Lizzie, started her wildly popular vlog, Lydia was just a normal twenty-year-old plotting the many ways she could get away with skipping her community college classes and finding the perfect fake ID. She may not have had much direction, but she loved her family and had plenty of fun. Then Lizzie’s vlog turned the Bennet sisters into Internet sensations, and Lydia basked in the attention as people watched, debated, tweeted, tumblr’d, and blogged about her life. But not all attention is good…

After her ex-boyfriend, George Wickham took advantage of Lydia’s newfound web-fame, betrayed her trust, and destroyed her online reputation, she’s no longer a naïve, carefree girl. Now, Lydia must work to win back her family’s trust and respect and find her place in a far more judgmental world.

Told in Lydia’s distinctive, eccentric, and endearing voice, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet picks up right where The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet left off and “offers a fresh take onPride and Prejudice without ruining it” (The Washington Post, onThe Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet). Featuring fresh twists, wonderful new characters, and scores of hilarious texts, doodles, and tweets, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet takes you behind the webcam and into the lives of your favorite sisters in a way that’s sure to satisfy existing fans and delight new ones.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like Lydia in the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Or in Pride & Prejudice for that matter. I never watched her videos and I was hesitant about this book. That being said, I actually really enjoyed this novel.

At first the novel started slow but then it picked up. I actually liked getting to know more about Lydia and her situation with George and what happens after. Since I didn’t watch her videos I didn’t really get to know Mary either so it was cool getting to know her here as well. Especially because instead of being one of the sisters, in this adaptation she’s their cousin.

The story follows Lydia through taking summer classes to graduate from her community college, going to therapy, living with Mary, and preparing to leave home and move to San Francisco with Mary at the end of the summer.

To do so, Lydia has to complete her college application, which is easier said than done. She struggles to find the balance between remaining true to herself but not going back to her old, self-destructive ways.

I really liked seeing Lydia grow up and figure out what she wanted for herself, instead of focusing on what everyone else expected of her. I’ll admit, I teared up at the end when Lydia finally got what she wanted but more importantly, what she needed. Great read!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. I liked this book more than I thought I would but I don’t think I’d reread it. It’s a nice quick read but not a story I’d read again.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Here’s the thing about good guys. They don’t tell you they’re good guys.”

Other Reviews

Patheos

Mostly YA Lit

Forever Young Adult (has spoilers!!)

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice

51JpiahypML

*This book is part of my POPSUGAR 2015 Reading Challenge*

Synopsis from Amazon:

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions. Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth. Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.

It seems strange to be reviewing a classic book that’s so old but I didn’t read anything else this week so here we go.

Pride and Prejudice was just as good as I expected it to be. I listened to the audio book for this one because I’ve tried to read it before but it has never worked out for me so I thought listening to it might be the best option. And it worked because I actually finished it this time. Yay!

If you don’t already know the premise of Pride and Prejudice shame on you, it’s a classic. The story follows Elizabeth Bennet who’s life is changed when Mr. Bingley, along with his friend Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Bingley’s two sisters, move into Netherfield, the estate down the road from Elizabeth and her family. Dealing with her own pride and prejudices along with those of the people around her Elizabeth finds herself in the midst of unwanted marriage proposals and drama.

I loved the Kiera Knightly film and after finishing the book the first thing I wanted to do was watch it again. I also love The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series. Both of these adaptations of the novel are great but very different.

The point is going into the book I knew what was going to happen but as adaptations often do there was a lot left out and those were the scenes I most enjoyed. I liked getting all the details I never knew before and I fell in with Mr. Darcy and his awkwardness. I wanted to shake Elizabeth for her prejudice but I also wanted to shake Mr. Darcy because he would say things that I’m sure he thought was flattering but in fact was insulting.

Overall, I probably won’t reread it because although it was good and I understand why it’s such a classic it’s just not my type of book. However, you should buy it because it’s free on the Kindle and very cheap everywhere else. Plus it’s just nice to have on your shelf.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! There’s literally zero down sides to buying this book.

Favorite Line:

Elizabeth’s spirit’s soon rising to playfulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her. ‘How could you begin?’ said she.
‘I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place?’ ‘I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.’

Stars:

4 stars

Other Reviews

Between the Covers

A Novel Menagerie

Literary Exploration