Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I had half of a review written. It was eloquent and everything. And then *POOF!* it was gone. This version is likely to be less than stellar.

Jane Eyre is an orphan. She is raised in a family devoid of love before being sent to a charitable school. There she spends eight years - two as a teacher. Upon leaving the school she becomes a governess for a private residence. And there the "real" story begins.

I don't know what it is about these books written by women in the 1800s. I find it very difficult to review and summarize them. The stories are twisting and convoluted. But at the same time they are linear and terribly predictable. Is it me? Is it them? Once upon a time in high school I wrote a many-paged paper extrapolating that Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby were essentially parallels of each other. Was I more fluent then? Or was it only so much crap written for a grade?

I enjoyed this book. Jane was fairly fascinating, though at times I wanted to smack her for her weaknesses. The way she would just give in or instinctively follow orders set my teeth on edge. Her temper and quick tongue did help to make up for it, though. Mr Rochester was a veritable Heathcliff to me (is it unfair to compare the characters of one sister to that of another?) - his moods and tempers were erratic at best. I often wondered if *he* were not the lunatic of the house.

Speaking of lunatics. Is in the Bronte sisters in particular or the time period in general that leads morbidity to be mixed with romance so freely? It is jarring and natural all at the same time and certainly adds... something.. to the work itself.

I'm glad I read this book. I almost passed it by yet again and left it collecting dust on my to-be-read shelf. I'd say that I'd recommend it to people, but I seem to be the last person on the planet (of a certain age) to have read it!

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