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Pride and Prejudice, Today

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Ashley Santoyo, Staff Writer

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Eligible is a novel written by Curtis Sittenfeld. It is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The novel is set in 21st century Cincinnati. The plot remains the same: A woman is looking for a decent man to marry while surrounded by judgmental and uptight older women of society. For a modern twist, Sittenfeld writes one of the main men as a beloved contestant on reality show (similar to The Bachelor) called Eligible.

The novel itself is a very humorous spoof of Jane Austen’s classic novel. The only thing that really changes are the names of the characters. For example, the character Mr. Bingley has his name changed to Chip in Sittenfeld’s novel. I read Austen’s Pride and Prejudice previously; though, I kept getting confused on who was dating which sister and what sister was older in Sittenfeld’s novel. It was also a different experience from reading the original Pride and Prejudice. The original obviously has more sophisticated dialogue and different perspectives. The women in the original version are more conservative and power-hungry. Sittenfeld’s modern re-telling was more pleasant to read. The dialogue was more my speed and the women faced modern problems, such as going to college. The women also shared liberal views and weren’t afraid of putting themselves out there. In this version they were seeking high status in their small hometown by marrying successful lawyers and doctors (only lawyers and doctors). One of my favorite things about the modern re-telling was the way the main character was portrayed. In this version, she goes by Liz and is an independent woman living in New York as a magazine writer in her mid-30’s. I could understand her sarcasm best in this version rather than the original because of the difference in the eras.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld is a modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s famous novel Pride and Prejudice. The re-telling shares the same plot as the original, but has the same characters going through problems one faces in the 21st century. I advise reading Jane Austen’s version before picking up this novel so the differences between the two are more obvious and entertaining to find. If you’ve tried to pick up the original Pride and Prejudice before and couldn’t sit through it, this version is an ideal alternative. It is 513 pages of romance and satire that had me tearing through book, always eager for more.

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Pride and Prejudice, Today