Gasp! I’ve never read Jane Austen?! How do I even:
- Call myself an English major.
- Work in the publishing industry.
- Identify as #basic.
Seriously. It’s like I missed this whole thing that should be central to my identity as a book person. (And it’s all due to getting shut out of a Jane Austen seminar in college. A seminar taught by a professor who I was a volunteer TA for and yet he wouldn’t sign me into the class when the registration system closed me out because he “likes to keep the seminar intimate and won’t let it be bigger than 12 students.” NOT EVEN FOR A STUDENT WHO WORKED FOR HIM FOR FREE. But I’m not still bitter or anything…)
Anyway. I can’t exactly get away with never reading Austen, right? I know you all love Mr. Darcy. Or is it Colin Firth? (Yeah, I haven’t seen any movie versions either…but I saw Clueless and that’s like Austen-inspired, right?) So it was time to do some routine maintenance and experience this beloved writer. I decided to read an adaptation of Austen. (Sorry Janey! I’m sure I would have loved you in the 1800s…I’m just more of a contemporary fiction kind of girl.)
Can we just take a moment to talk about how amazing Curtis Sittenfeld is? Prep? So good. American Wife? UNPUTDOWNABLE. Not even when this friend is depressed because I won’t put my book down to play with him:
So I read Eligible and I loved it. But I have some questions. Maybe all you Austenites can help:
- Was Chip Bingley famous for something in the original? He was on a Bachelor-type show in this version and though I loved this twist (I’ve only ever seen one season of The Bachelor—Andrew Firestone—but I love UnREAL on Lifetime!) I wondered what the equivalent was in the original.
- Did Chip really have a sister named Caroline? And was she terrible? As a Caroline myself, I need to know.
- Were Jane and Liz really good friends? For some reason I thought Pride and Prejudice was about sisters fighting over a guy. Are Jane and Liz not Lady Mary and Lady Edith? Have I been totally wrong all these years?
- Was there really a cousin who wanted to marry one of the girls? Oh who am I kidding. Of course there was! If there’s one thing I learned from Downton Abbey it’s that the only way to protect your assets is to marry your cousin…and that show was set like 100 years after Jane Austen’s time!
- Did Lydia and Kitty end up in “controversial” relationships? I really loved where they ended up and I want to know what the 1800s equivalent is! And Mary…I have SO many questions about Mary.
Okay so maybe I need to read the original. I’ll think about it. Or maybe I’ll just read this adaptation instead: