*this review is sure to have some spoilers*
Jane Eyre, is one of the classics that I’ve been meaning to read for ages, but it took a pretty cover to (finally) buy it, and a hangover to start reading it. (Basically I was too hungover to manage all the drama on The Cathedral of the Sea, and decided to pick something else to read. Since my options were very limited, Jane Eyre seemed like the lightest and easiest thing to read. Silly me.)
Jane Eyre is indeed the story of Jane, from her miserable childhood, through her slightly less miserable adolescence and to her adulthood. Orphan of both parents, she lives with her aunt and cousins, but it is a life without affection. When she is sent to a school far from home she believes that her conditions can only improve, but it isn't without trouble that she finishes her education and is ready to seek employment.
This story was not new to me, but I had only watched the TV series, and some time ago, so the details were a bit hazy. I knew there would be a happy ending, but then, there always is (I had quite forgotten everything else about the ending). I was actually expecting a lot more drama in the beginning (I think I got the order of some events wrong), so the more I read, the more I dreaded what was (I thought) sure to come.
There is a very strong Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Yes, I know both the love birds are as ugly as they come, making it Beast and the Beast, but to me it is about their personalities. Jane very nice and proper (even if a little blunt), Mr. Rochester quite the devil (and drama queen), teasing and insulting. I liked Mr. Rochester’s wild personality, even if sometimes it is a bit too flamboyant. Jane’s uptightness got to my nerves sometimes, but I liked her bluntness and honesty. But most of all, it was the bickering between these too: the intelligent semi-arguments were really fun to read.
My biggest problem with the classics (and I say problem is the very loosest of senses) is that I have to adapt to the values of the times when they were written. It is most likely that a modern day Jane would take the easier route, by running away WITH her beloved and not running away FROM him (I know I would, along with taking more conventional measures to deal with the problem in the attic). That made some parts in the book a bit harder to enjoy (or should I say, not to scream at the characters), but that choice was also in tune with the character's personality and way of being.
But to me, the strongest point of this book is how it is written. The use of the first person takes away the distance I could have felt due to Jane’s personality. And the descriptions are absolutely vivid. I was constantly lost on 19th century England, taking walks through the moors, sitting by the fireplace, studying people… Making the drama all the more, well, dramatic, because it felt like it was happening to me.
I really liked this book, even though it took me quite awhile to finish. It's very well written, and it's not only about romance, it portrays a society that is slightly different from ours - one that not so long ago was the norm. The down side was that there was a bit more drama that I felt was necessary, and all the religious babble, that started to really get on my nerves by the end of the book (courtesy of a late comer character). Still, it definitely deserves it's place among the classics.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Other Reviews: Page Turners
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