19 April 2012

Review - Jane Eyre by Charlotte

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish to highly apologize to not only myself, but every other self-respecting reader out there. I am SORRY. I don’t know why I did it, but I did. I can’t apologize enough and I regret every moment of my life having done so.

I watched the newer movie version before I read the book.

Reading the book was inevitable, and SURPRISE! The movie ended up under the Christmas tree before I had my hands on the book, and I got bored one night. Don’t yell at me, just let me go on with my review and deal with it.

I was once told that Jane Eyre was something like Pride and Prejudice which excited me because PaP is one of my absolute favorite novels. Then I was told, in large numbers, that the two books had little in common at all, which confused me but made me want to read the book all the more.

Let’s start with a quick overview. Jane Eyre’s parents die, and she’s raised by one of those aunts you’d rather use as firewood. Aunt gets sick of Jane and sends her away to a school, where she’s raised as Plain Jane for the rest of her life until she’d old enough to leave. She gets a job as a governess at a large, imposing hall and finds out her employer is sort of a crack-pot.

This book wreaks of gothic lore and dark, shadowy places you’d prefer not to stick your hand into. This I loved. This is one of those books I’d use during my lecture concerning how stupid genres are. A lot of people, including, it seems, the movie director, would like to claim that this is a romance. Well if that’s the only tag you can give this book I feel extremely sad for you and I’d really rather you never touch a book again.

More people feel that the novel surrounds Jane’s romance with Rochester, which isn’t true. This is a nineteenth century biography of a girl who comes of age, finds herself, faces demons, and eventually finds love. I do agree with those who say this is a piece of literature that illustrates a strong degree of feminine independence. I highly doubt that in that age, a woman of Jane Eyre’s upbringing would be as brave and outspoken as she is in the novel. (I feel this is a reflection of Miss Brontë’s own beliefs at the time.)

I will try to write the rest of my review without saying, “I loved this book because I major in British Literature and this is the crap I dive into because I love it.”

I loved the mystery of this book. A lot happens in and around the house and to Jane that really pulled me in. I was so happy to find the novel wasn’t so romantic that I wanted to throw it to the wall. It was a very dark piece of literature with a witty twist in the end that really spoke of the horrors, and of the real face of the nineteenth century without the façade once presented.

I think this is a classic that a lot of people will enjoy, even if they don’t necessarily reach for the classics on their shelves. It’s a brick of a novel, which is wonderful anyway because I love a book that will take me a while to get through, but it is so worth it. If you want a break from the usual, please check this one out.

Really, I don’t know how to make this any clearer, aside from giving this its own paragraph. Do not assume you know what this book is about. I can’t tell you how many arrogant people have claimed to know exactly what happens in this book, and they’ve been horribly wrong. It sort of upsets me, because they’re usually the people who force something in my face. At least give it a chance, although you should do that for every book, eh…?

I also want to say I have this book in one of those sexy, Penguin clothbound editions. SEXY. I get high just frigging holding this book. I didn’t even have to read it to think it was awesome. This classic series just makes me want to squee.


  1. Jane Eyre is my very favourite classic (despite the fact that it includes one of my pet peeves, the ridiculous coincidence). It's so engrossing, never slow and wonderfully atmospheric. And Rochester given a choice between faithful but tortured Rochester and haughty Darcy, I'd pick Rochester every time!

    I'm with you on the clothbound classics too - they are so gorgeous. I keep going over to the bookcase to look at mine and lovingly stroke the spines!

  2. Ha! I don't know who I'd pick, hmmm... I think I'd be more likely to smack Rochester on a daily basis. It really comes down with what I'd rather put up with, Darcy who always walks around like he's miserable, or Rochester who's miserable and demands everyone else around him be miserable, too.


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