JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
Genre: Fiction & Literature
Place of Purchase: library loan
Reading Began: October 2002
Completed Reading: November 2002
Overall rating: Six out of ten
Recommendation to others: Honestly, as good as it is, and as talented as Charlotte Bronte was, I enjoyed this book much more because I’d read The Eyre Affair first. Perhaps I simply tainted it, or perhaps I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much… I’ll never know. But I would suggest that a reader with a hearty taste for recent fiction not jump into Jane Eyre lightly, and that anyone with a love for 19th century literature not think twice about it.
Why I chose to read this book: It has always been one of my greatest regrets to have not been exposed in school to much classic literature, but I’ve also not jumped into those works on my own. It’s been a case of “I really ought to…” and “Someday I’m just going to read those…”, but I never chose to act. When I read The Eyre Affair and didn’t understand quite a few of the references made to Bronte’s novel, I determined to get the truth of it. I wanted to know which occurrences in Fforde’s novel were true and which were bent for his story. I wish I’d known prior to reading his book just what had occurred in Jane Eyre, but I still found great enjoyment while reading this for the first time.
Further reading by this author: I’ve not read another work by Charlotte Bronte, so I had to look this up online. I expected a full list of titles, but found only 3 other novels and some short stories and poems. Interesting that an author as revered and beloved published only a few titles. What a different world it is today! Still, nothing really jumped out as recognizable, so at this time I’ve no direction on further reading.
Comments: On first read, I did enjoy the story and found most of the characters pleasing (in whatever roles they assumed), but I think I expected to be overwhelmed, and was not. This made for a slightly disappointing first read, yet not so much that I wanted to put it down. It took a bit of adjustment to the pace (especially after Fforde’s fast novel) and tone of the era, but once I made that adjustment, I worked easily through the pages. Jane Eyre is a delightful story, a true romance, and I can fully appreciate the heroine’s struggles both in context of the period and social mores, and in comparison to today’s heroine figures. By the end of the book, I had definite opinions on how the story should play out, and I was never disappointed in the resolutions. I truly ran the gamut of emotions while reading this book, and I can only recommend it to anyone with an eye toward classic literature. I look forward to reading it again in several years to gain an even broader perspective that can only come with age.
Favorite Characters: I actually liked Rochester more in Fforde’s novel (a modernized version suited my tastes better), but by the end I was fully in his camp. Jane is the true heroine of the book and, as such, you can only love her.
Favorite passages: This will require subsequent reads as nothing jumped out above the rest during my first go.