‘Eligible’ by Curtis Sittenfeld is the modern version of Jane Austen’s famous novel ‘Pride and Prejudice‘. I feel shameful to write that I haven’t felt the proclivity to read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ till date. A synopsis from one of the wikipedias is what I could manage for myself. If you are a fiction lover like me, then I would suggest not to deprive yourself in this manner from either of the novels. And, those who have already read Jane Austen’s literary marvel, I would request them to go for a fun ride with the crazy Bennet family from Cincinnati once more in ‘Eligible’.
The novel is available in Amazon and costs INR 263.00. You can visit the Amazon site directly by clicking the above image.
Mr. Bennet : He is the head of Bennet family, husband to Mrs. Bennet, father of five beautiful yet unmarried daughters and an owner of a sprawling eight-bedroom Tudor in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park neighbourhood. Mr. Bennet doesn’t hold very prestigious views about marriage, holds the armour of sarcasm and likes to spend time in his study. He recently had a heart surgery, a broken right-arm and is under a diet devoid of red meat, salt & alcohol.
Mrs. Bennet : She is the neck of Bennet family, a worried mother of five unmarried daughters and a shopaholic. Mrs. Bennet is always concerned of her daughters’ gradually approaching ‘expiry’ date. She is also devoted to the annual Women’s Luncheon arrangements which she puts in a higher position than nursing her husband.
Jane Bennet : She is the eldest daughter in the family, a Yoga instructor and lives in Manhattan. Soon going to be 40 years old, Jane is still single and desires for a child. She is secretly undergoing consecutive failed donor insemination treatment. At present, she is living in Cincinnati to take care of Mr. Bennet.
Elizabeth (Liz) Bennet : Liz Bennet is a 38 year old journalist working in a monthly women’s magazine Mascara in New York. Although Liz has no plans to mother any child, but she is in love with Jasper Wick, a married man and a father of one. She is currently in Cincinnati, looking after Mr. Bennet’s health, cooking healthy recipes for her family and assisting in Mrs. Bennet’s annual luncheon with Jane.
Mary Bennet : Mary Bennet in her 30s is the ‘scholar kid’ in family. In spite of having master’s degrees in criminal justice and business administration, she doesn’t consider looking for a job as a viable option and stays with her parents instead. Mary considers running behind men as a shallow act and thinks is busy at present in her third online course in psychology. She mysteriously disappears on Tuesday nights much to the confusion of her family and is rumoured to be gay.
Kitty Bennet : After spending most of her life in texting and playing video games , Kitty Bennet (26 years) has embraced an intense workout program in CrossFit. Her latest invovement is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In her ‘free time’, she loves to follow her passion of painting beautiful patterns on her nails. Kitty lives with her parents.
Lydia Bennet : Lydia Bennet is the youngest of all the sisters and is 23 years old. She and Kitty fall in the same genre and is another active member in CrossFit. In past, she tried her hand in multiple jobs and moved out of her parents’ house. But eventually she has made her return in Tudor and is not working currently. Impolite nature is her claim to fame in the family.
Chip Bingley : The very handsome Chip Bingley has everything in his life. He is from the famous Pennsylvania Bingley family & a graduate from Dartmouth college and Harvard Medical School. Still he is single and desperately looking for a wife. His hunt for a wife led him to participate a popular match-making reality show ‘Eligible’. But destiny didn’t smile at him even there. Being a doctor by profession, Chip has recently joined Christ Hospital’s ER department in Cincinnati.
Caroline Bingley : She is the sister of Chip, a woman proud of her Bingley inheritance and allergic to the ‘inadequate’ standards of Cincinnati. Caroline also manages Chip’s work in the television industry and dated Darcy for a while. She still nurtures some soft feelings for Darcy.
Fitzwilliam Darcy : He is a graduate from Stanford and a friend of Chip Bingley . Darcy is an extremely handsome yet single guy. In spite of his single status, he is not actively looking for a wife. He works as a neurosurgeon in the stroke centre at the University of Cincinnati.
Bennets, Bingleys and Darcy are invited in the barbecue party hosted by Dr. Lucas, a physician and a high-rank executive in Christ Hospital. All the eyes of single girls and their mothers are set on Chip. Chip comes across Jane in the party and sparks flow between them in no time. In the very same party, Liz overhears a conversation of Darcy where he shares with Chip his not-so-impressive opinion about Cincinnati and it’s inhabitants. Liz considers Darcy as an arrogant human being for whom nobody fits into his Stanford standards.
Meanwhile, Chip & Jane part their ways due to a ‘dicey’ situation. Jane leaves Cincinnati and Chip goes back to an ‘Eligible’ reunion show. Things become more complicated in Bennet household when Liz learns that Mr. Bennet is in deep debt after his surgery. Selling the Tudor and buying a decent apartment looks like a sensible solution to Liz. However, Mrs. Bennet insists Liz to marry Willie (the rich step-son of Liz’s aunt Margo) and settle the debts.
In the midst of all this chaos,Jasper visits Cincinnati on an ‘work’ assignment. When Liz and Jasper meet in a restaurant, they bump on Darcy. Darcy and Jasper both studied in Stanford and they don’t share good judgement of each other’s character. Liz finds Darcy a difficult person to deal with who holds least respect towards Bennets.
Tired of problems at home and in romantic front, Liz returns to New York. But circumstances bring her in front of Darcy once again. Just when she starts feeling a change of mind for Darcy, Liz finds herself flying back to Cincinnati to tackle a crisis brought down by Lydia. Within a few days, she gets news of Darcy and Caroline being a couple.
What made Jane and Chip part ways? Will they ever patch up? Why does Jasper and Darcy behave in such an odd manner? Liz has been madly in love with Jasper for more than a decade. Is it possible for her to share a future with Jasper? What is the truth behind Darcy and Caroline’s relationship? Does anyone seeking love here find the ‘eligible’ soulmate?
Although the story has been decorated differently , but the essence of the novel revolves much around it’s predecessor. I bet you will enjoy reading ‘Eligible’ as much I enjoyed writing about it (hope it’s obvious from the length of the post).