Monday, April 04, 2011

Book Review: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
By Charlotte Bronte
Adult fiction, romance, gothic

I just this moment finished listening to Jane Eyre. It has been my companion for the last few weeks as I've knitted on projects and proofed photos at all hours of the day and night.  I listened to the Librivox version #3, read by Elizabeth Klett. She's a favorite narrator and I always think she does a fine job. I really like supporting Librivox and have the distant dream of maybe volunteering to read a book or two for them someday. I do love reading aloud.

I haven't read this since my teen  years, so it was a delight to immerse myself in the crystalline language and passionate ups and downs of Jane's extraordinary journey to love. I especially like that this book is very nearly a fable--reminding us that passions and emotions must not be allowed to rule our lives, but instead, if we stand by our morals and beliefs, good things will come to us, even if not by the easy path. In this day of instant gratification and relativism, I loved reading an authoritative voice declare in such gorgeous language that being good has rewards and true love can actually conquer all.

It is the story of an unfortunate little girl. At the beginning we find her orphaned, living with her resentful and abusive aunt, then packed off to a worse boarding school called Lowood, then getting out of there to become a governess at a distant estate called Thornfield. There she meets Mrs. Fairfax, Adele, and, most importantly, Mr. Rochester. He is the master of the hall, enigmatic, athletic, energetic and ruled by a mysterious melancholy.  Of course, he and Jane fall in love, but that's just the beginning. Mr. Rochester has a big secret and the story takes several unexpected turns, which I'll let you discover on your own.

If you've never read it, I highly recommend it, if just for your cultural literacy to be complete. There are things in there that are still referenced in modern culture, even today. If not for that, then read it for the love story, the utter Englishness of it, and the fact that it is just a great old novel.

4 comments:

  1. I love Jane Eyre! Jane and Edward are the perfect romantic couple.

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  2. I loved the book as well, and the movie was also excellent. I found it quite faithful to the central ideas of the book.

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  3. definite favorite; I like to pretend I was named after Charlotte Bronte, instead of being a slightly altered version of Charmin (my parent's first choice that my blessed grandmother wouldn't allow)--you are my dream bookclub member Kellie---let's try living a few more decades for when interstate travel just takes a few minutes (and cents, of course) :)

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Thank you for sharing your insights!