Friday, August 31, 2012

JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte

Publisher: Harper Teen

Date published: Reissue

ISBN: 978-0062015624

Genre: Historical Fiction


Obtained via: Publisher

Reviewed by Gina

With her parents’ deaths Jane Eyre was sent to live with her Uncle Reed. When her uncle died he bade his wife, Mrs. Reed to care for his niece Jane. Mrs. Reed, however was not keen to care for her niece. She kept her promise to her husband, but only grudgingly so. With a blind eye she allowed her children to bully and abuse Jane, blaming Jane for all ills and problems in the house. When Mrs. Reed decides Jane is completely unmanageable Jane is sent off to Lowood School. Life is not much improved for her at Lowood but Jane trudges on. Before many years pass Jane moves from student to teacher and then one day decides it is time to move beyond Lowood. She is engaged as governess to a young girl named Adele. Adele’s guardians soon find that Jane is able to bring out the best in Adele. Before long Adele’s primary guardian, Mr. Rochester returns home from one of his many journeys and Jane soon finds herself falling in love with the cantankerous man. Theirs is a forbidden love because of not only his station in life, but age—Mr. Rochester is in his 40’s and Jane is barely 20. But another reason keeps the couple from finding their way to each other.

Strange events occur at Thornfield. Some of them deadly. Others merely terrifying. During each Jane seems to be caught up in the trauma that follows.

Jane accepts that hers must be an unrequited love…but then Mr. Rochester proclaims his own love for her. On the brink of their wedding truths unfold and Jane is caught in a maelstrom of destruction forcing Jane to leave the man and home she loves.

What can I say about a well-known and well-loved story that has not been said before? My feelings about the book felt almost sacrilegious because of how well liked Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE has been for decades. JANE EYRE is the epitome of gothic romance complete with a brooding hero, ghostly appearances, unrequited love and a castle like home in the midst of foggy skies. Most readers will disagree with me but I found little to like in the story.

I felt bad for young Jane and did want to shake Mrs. Reed and her brood of brats more than once. I ached for the child Jane was and enjoyed the story, as much as you can like a child being abused until she departed from Lowood. The groundwork for her to emerge as a heroine was carefully laid. Jane is very much a woman of her time and I suppose much of what I did not like in her reflects on how women were treated in the 1800’s, particularly in Bronte’s time. She just goes along, taking whatever abuse is heaped on her, never really venturing from her secure little world. Or as secure as she could feel with no one to support her emotionally or physically.

I really didn’t like Mr. Rochester. I never felt like he had any redeeming qualities. An attempted bigamist, rude, unmindful of others’ feelings and all around unpleasant. Despite the reasons for his behavior being explained, I never felt he rose above it.

I don’t know if it was merely this version of what was in the original but there were chapters with Adele speaking French with no explanation of what she was saying. Jane never reflected on it so we’d know and there were no references at the end of the book to explain. If you don’t speak or read French you probably won’t figure out what Adele had to say.

The writing, particularly the dialogue, was often juvenile.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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