by Curtis Sittenfeld
Random House, 492 pages, 2016, General Fiction
Returning with her sister, Jane, to their Ohio hometown when their father falls ill, New York magazine editor Lizzy Bennett confronts her younger sisters' football fangirl antics, a creepy cousin's unwanted attentions, and the infuriating standoffish manners of a handsome neurosurgeon.
Did you hear that? That’s the sound of a few of my co-workers yelling at me for writing this review. Usually when I know someone else in the library will likely read and review the same book, I’ll try to review something else. But I need to talk about this book with people! Please tell me what to think about it! I mean you, too, co-workers!
This book is the latest in a project to have different authors update Jane Austen novels, and it’s the most successful adaptation for me so far. Sittenfeld does something most Austen-inspired novelists don’t; she acknowledges Austen’s sharp wit. Liz and her family are all sarcastic and flippant, just as they are in Austen’s original novel (Pride and Prejudice). Sittenfeld also really updates the novel, filling it chock-full of contemporary issues ripped from the headlines.
Because the novel is so updated, I’m not sure it will appeal to everyone. In fact, it took me a bit to warm up to the novel. But the more I think about it, the more I like it because Sittenfeld did such a good job of staying true to the spirit of the original while also making it modern. I’d love to hear what others think of this.