In this modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice, the way people know that Chip Bingley, an ER doctor "in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” is that two years before, he appeared on a Bacheloresque dating show called Eligible (without selecting either of the two female contestants who made it to the final episode). The Bennet family in this version of P & P reside in a ramshackle Tudor home in Cincinatti, Ohio, and of course Mrs. Bennet is convinced that Dr. Bingley will be just right for one of her daughters. Jane Bennet, who will be turning 40 in the fall, is a yoga instructor who has been attempting to become pregnant via donor sperm and artificial insemination. Liz, age 38, is a writer for a magazine called Mascara. Both Liz and Jane live in NYC, but they fly out to their ancestral home when their father has a health scare. The youngest three daughters have never left the nest. Mary, age 30, is a misanthrope working on her third online master's degree. Lydia and Kitty, both in their 20s, work service jobs on and off, but put most of their energy into their Crossfit workouts.
Readers of Jane Austen's original will know the broad strokes of the plotlines, but Curtis Sittenfeld changes things up enough to keep the narrative fresh. There is, of course, a Fitzwilliam Darcy, in this case a neurosurgeon, who must overcome his pride while Liz Bennet makes a journey to get past her own prejudice.
This book was a "staff pick" chosen for week two of the Albany Public Library summer-reading program. Onto week three (non-fiction)!