By: Curtis Sittenfeld
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Random House
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice
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.
Beautiful cover! This immediately made me want to read this book. Then when I saw it was a Pride and Prejudice retelling I was even more intrigued. Those two things were all I needed to know to know I wanted to read this book.
What I thought
This book markets itself as a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and it is definitely modern! I really enjoyed this book and found myself unable to put it down once I got into it.
One of the aspects that make this book different from the original story, besides the fact that it’s set in present day, is that the Bennett sisters are a lot older. Jane is almost 40, Liz is 38, Mary is also in her 30s, Kitty is 26 and Lydia is 23. I liked this twist because it definitely made the book feel more modern. Another interesting twist is that a lot of modern attitudes and lifestyles are a major part of this book. For example, Liz, when she moves back home, is seeing a married man and Jane is trying to get pregnant through a sperm donor. I really liked that these new storylines were added because it made it feel like a fresh story instead of just a retelling of a classic.
It was refreshing that Sittenfeld didn’t just think that moving the story to present day was enough to create a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. She didn’t just move the story, add some cell phones, texting, and other technology and say it was a modern story. She truly transported the original characters into a modern lifestyle and she did it wonderfully.
Another aspect that I greatly enjoyed was the short chapters. Some of the chapters were as short as a half a page and I think the longest chapter was maybe 5 pages long. This kept the story moving and definitely made it harder for me to put the book down. There was never a dull moment and I really enjoyed Sittenfeld’s style of writing. I also found this book to be funnier than I expected it to be.
As with the original Pride and Prejudice, Darcy and Lizzie aren’t the most likeable of characters but somehow the reader enjoys them anyway. I liked that the characters still had their core characteristics, making the books still have the same heart that the original had.
By: Curtis Sittenfeld