Cool your judgy jets + “Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld

This one goes out to the two women who shook their heads at me  yesterday while I was shopping. Two different women. Two different places. 

I try not to judge. Because of the whole throwing rocks at glass houses thing.

Of course, sometimes I do judge a bit; every one does, I think. But I try not to let words come out of my mouth that might cast aspersions on another person.

Because I’ve been there. In fact, I feel like I’m there every day. Especially yesterday.

I took my younger daughter with me for a little shopping. For those that don’t know, my Katy has Down syndrome. It’s not a big deal for our family. But sometimes I need to remember that she’s 11 going on 5 or 6.

And she gets distracted. By shiny bobbles, colorful things, and babies. Especially babies.

So, yesterday she and I went shopping. First Target (eek!! So many shiny things for both of us!!!), and then to the grocery store.

Katy wandered away from about four times at Target. Yes, I should keep better track of her. But seriously, she’s RIGHT there. And then she’s not.

And she doesn’t answer when I call her name. Que the crazy lady, hollering (or yelling, maybe?) her name through Target. I look crazy–and she NEVER answers!!!! At one point, one of our neighbor/friends who happened to be at Target returned her. But every other time, I was that crazy lady.

I could feel the judge-y stares as I wandered the aisles looking for her (she never goes too far). Usually she’s by a baby, because she cannot resist babies.

If Katy’s near a baby when I find her,  I apologize to the mom. Most often the mother is fine with Katy, but every once and awhile I get ‘that look.’ You know, the one that says, “you need to keep better track of your kid.”Have-You-Judged-A-Mom-Today-

One mother shook her head as we walked away. She doesn’t know it, but I saw that shake of the head. The woman with a toddler in the cart and a baby on her back. The one with kids small enough to strap in to the cart. Stop throwing your rocks. You’ll be in the glass house soon enough.

I got out of Target with my bank account a little lighter but my child by my side. So win-win, in my books.

Onto the grocery store near our house. There is a problem with this, because we’re there A LOT. People who have worked there for awhile know Katy and always say hi. And there are always people shopping that know us, or know me, or just know Katy. And there are babies EVERY WHERE.

She wanders at our grocery store, like always. It’s a place she knows well, and she thinks everyone knows her. I tell her not to wander, but everything is forgotten when she sees a baby. It would be funny if it wasn’t so worrisome.

She talks to people she doesn’t know. We talked about talking to strangers, and she told me that “they know me, so they’re not strangers.”

This makes it tougher. Katy literally doesn’t know a stranger.

So, as we headed to the checkout, another woman, one without children (with her, at least), shook her head.

Now, I don’t know if either of these women were actually judging me. But it sure felt like it to me. I know I’m a bit thin skinned on this issue, so maybe they were just shaking their heads at the price of socks (Target) or milk (grocery store).

Or may be it was me. The crazy-yelling mom. Maybe they were judging me.

I guess my point is quit trying to be ‘better than.’ It doesn’t work. Realize that everyone goes through struggles, and someday you’re going to be judged as well. You never know what struggles a mother, or father, or anyone, is going through. You never know how they got to where they are at that moment. That moment when you’re judging them.

So stop shaking your head and tsking. Stop judging. Remember, that mother or grandmother or father or aunt could be you at any moment.

Instead of judging, lend a hand. Or lend a little understanding. Or even just say a silent prayer.

Get off your high horse before you fall flat into a pile of dung.

Okay, onto a wonderful book all about first impressions and judgment–Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld.


This book will be released tomorrow, April 19th. Order it or get to the bookstore. You won’t be sorry!!!




The Premise

This is easy. Have you read Pride and Prejudice? Well, then you know the plot.

Except it’s set in modern day Cincinnati (with some stops in New York and Los Angeles).

Jane and Liz  Bennet are living great lives in New York. Jane is a 40 year-old single yoga instructor going IUI (intrauterine insemination) because she wants a baby. Liz is a 38 year -old magazine writer who has been sleeping with her married bestfriend-Jasper-for whom she’s been carrying a torch for YEARS.

When their father has a heart attack, the eldest Bennet girls head home to Cincinnati, where their parents live in the familial home, along with the three younger Bennet girls. This is when Liz gets a good look at their grand old home, a Tudor falling apart from neglect (her parents hid during she and Jane’s quick visits home). Kitty and Lydia are too busy with CrossFit to notice, and Mary is working on a string of degrees (online). And all the girls (except Liz) have relied on the Bennet’s dwindling funds to live lives of comfort.

While home, the Bennets are introduced to Chip Bingley, a handsome doctor fresh from the set of the reality dating show  Eligible (think The Bachelor). He takes a shine to Jane.

And Liz meets his icy neurosurgeon bestfriend, Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Chip and Jane start dating, but after he learns of Jane’s pregnancy (the IUI worked!), he backs away, heading to California for an Eligible reunion show. Jane takes off for New York, where she works as a private yoga instructor while taking care of her pregnancy. Liz stays in Cincinnati in an attempt to get her family’s finances (and the house) back in order. She and Darcy form a sort of friendship, although Liz doesn’t really like him.

But not all is as it seems. And you can’t always go by your first impressions.

My Thoughts

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books. It’s a go-to on sick days. Romantic and sweet, but with such wonderful characters and a great deal of depth. It’s one of the most perfect stories of all times.

I’ve read many of the re-tellings, and seen the movies and those modern interpretations. Not many come close to the depth and breadth of Jane Austen’s classic.

But Eligible does. Curtis Sittenfeld’s re-imagining is brilliant and funny, paying tribute to the original while Americanizing it and bringing it perfectly to the modern world.

Sittenfeld takes on modern issues while staying true to the original storyline. All the fun and romance is there, but with real issues for today: race, class, gender, and reality television. Sittenfeld takes them all on while also holding steady to Jane Austen’s original.

I loved this. Easily a one sitting read. I give it five stars: It earns every last one of them.

Bloody Brilliant!!!


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