Friday, 18 March 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre
*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

This book on: LibraryThing | Goodreads | Bookdepository UK | Bookdepository US | Amazon UK | Amazon US | | Project Gutenberg


  1. I'm reading this one right now and I'm really enjoying it. I think you make a good point about adapting to the values of the time. One of the hardest things for me to get over was that Jane was half Mr. Rochester's age. I kept wanting to shake her by the shoulders and tell her that she was too young to be that committedly in love but I did appreciate how the relationship grew out of friendship and companionship rather than love at first sight.

    (I do love this cover for the book too!)

  2. Mr.Rochester's teasing is to die for. I love how he makes Jane jealous by flirting with that wallflower. It's so funny! (At least for him and for the reader, but I'm sure that if I were in Jane's place I would be pissed.)
    Great review quigui. I'm so happy you enjoyed Charlotte's writting. :D

  3. My favourite book (can't explain why but I fell in love with the book) ^_^

    I just adore Mr. Rochester and I agree with Carla; his teasing is just amazing!
    I have a small crush on his character *blushes embarrassed*

    Anyway, great review. I wished I had that cover instead of the pocket edition (for 3,50euros what was I excepting?!) - I still want the clothbound edition :P

  4. This edition is part of a Deluxe series by Penguin, with covers by Ruben Toledo. They are all quite beautiful, but to me, this one is the best.

    Glad to hear you are also liking it. The age difference didn't really bother me, I think I'm impervious to that after reading quite a lot of historical fiction. But it would definitely rise quite a few eyebrows in our day and age, with 20 years between them (and Jane not having much experience with dealing with boys and men).

    I love the whole gipsy episode. I didn't remember that one (was it in the series? I really need to rewatch it), but half way I was getting a bit suspicious, thinking "this is so out of the blue and surreal that Rochester is sure to have an hand in it."

    It is really a great book, you have every right to be in love with it!

    The clothbound edition is also very nice, but I really fell in love with this book the minute I saw it in the shop. So much I went back to buy it!

  5. It sounds good. I'm really excited to read this book, and like you, I'm taking too long to get it.

    1. You should get this book soon! And there are so many pretty editions!