It's a tricky thing, updating a book like Pride and Prejudice (which is also one of my favorite books of all time), but author Curtis Sittenfeld pulls it off with aplomb. She move the action to Cincinnati, Ohio, in the 2010s, and all the favorite characters are here: the Bennet family, the Bingleys, Catherine de Bourgh, and, of course, Fitzwilliam Darcy. But in the process of updating, she comes up with believable reasons for the five Bennet girls to not be married, and gives them contemporary personalities that have the heart of the classic Bennet girls as well.
Mrs. Bennet is here, of course, fluttering and annoying everyone in her path, and also with a bit of a shopping addiction that, combined with her husband's recent heart surgery while uninsured, has left them in dire financial straits (and their marriage in questionable shape). Jane and Liz have developed careers (Jane as a yoga instructor, Liz as a writer) that have allowed them to move to New York City, while Mary is a perpetual student, and Lydia and Kitty are flighty, shallow young women who focus on CrossFit and avoiding carbs while living their lives on their phones. Jane and Liz return to Cincinnati to help when their father is hospitalized. Suddenly they learn that a highly attractive young doctor is moving to town, having become famous from being on the reality TV series Eligible (think: The Bachelor). And all the mayhem begins.
What's so enjoyable about this book is its clear fondness for the source material, and also its respect for it. Even while updating (and the reality TV concept is just kind of brilliant), it holds close to the emotions and emotional progression of the original. Sittenfeld is a hilarious writer and is very adept at bringing Austen's wit into the 21st century.
And while I won't give spoilers, Sittenfeld also updated the ending in a way that gives the book a more feminist approach, and also doesn't leave Mary out as the sad sack of the Bennet family. Well done, Curtis Sittenfeld.