Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

There’s pride, there’s prejudice, and there’s also text break-ups, reality tv, ‘hate sex’, Bitcoin, jogging, and Ivy League schools in Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s fabulous, frothy take on the Austen classic, Pride and Prejudice.

The brilliance in Sittenfeld’s rendering of Pride is that she stayed absolutely true to the story (a ridiculous social-climber plots to marry-off her five daughters to suitable, wealthy men), and yet made it very much her own.

All five  girls had then gone on to private colleges before embarking on what could euphemistically be called non-lucrative careers, though in the case of some sisters, non-lucrative non-careers was a more precise descriptor.

The story is set in Cincinnati (Sittenfeld’s hometown) and we find Liz as a magazine journalist; Jane, a yoga instructor; Mary doing her third online masters degree; and Kitty and Lydia gadding about eating high-protein meals and attending CrossFit. Continue reading

Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson

miss-pettigrew-lives-for-a-day-winifred-watson

A few days ago I did a book versus film comparison of Winifred Watson’s charming comedy-of-manners, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. There’s lots to say about this book – the Cinderella re-telling, the themes of female friendship; and how to write witty and engaging dialogue.

I’m sure there were parts of the story that were truly scandalous when it was first published – start with the bed-hopping and casual cocaine references within the first dozen pages. There are parts that are scandalous now (racist remarks and comments about keeping women in line aren’t fit for modern audiences) but honestly, mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down* (and keep it in historical perspective while you’re there, peoples).

The film version of the story has possibly my favourite sets of all time (I want Miss LaFosse’s flat). It also has a brilliant soundtrack. But this is about the book so instead of a review, I’m giving some of my favourite passages from the book a new soundtrack.

Alive – Goldfrapp

“Miss Pettigrew had never in her life before dealt with a situation that needed such finesse.” Continue reading