REVIEW: 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte

Well, hello!  It really has been too long.  I apologize to everyone out there who may have been waiting for a blog post.  I should have mentioned in my welcome statement that I have a horrible tendency to take lengthy recesses with no apparent warning or reason.

But now that I'm back (for now), I can finally discuss my relationship with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  This book took me a month or so to finish.  This does not mean I did not enjoy it.

I will say it was hard to read Jane Eyre properly without the environment of a classroom.  I always get more from classics like this where there can be a group discussion after every few chapters or so.  I considered checking SparkNotes, but somehow that felt like cheating.  Halfway through, I decided to skip the literary aspect of it entirely and began reading for enjoyment only.

I say I had a relationship with Jane Eyre because this book drew me so closely into Jane's mind I felt we were in fact friends, or at the very least acquaintances.  I found Jane's narrative engaging, and Bronte's writing style attractive.  My problem with literary classics has always been that I would get lost in backstory -- I felt an author would take too much time explaining something (a gesture, a bit of dialogue, the scenery), when it was just as easy to skip a few sentences and get on with the narration.  Not so with Jane Eyre.  There were only a few instances where I would put the book down and wonder when I was ever going to finish it.  My biggest issue this time around was picking the book back up after I had put it down for the night.  It's not a book that you can use to take a few minutes out of your busy day, read a few lines and put it back down until the next time you have a free moment.  The writing is not pithy by any means, so I would have to make time out of my day to fully absorb myself, if I was going to pick up the book at all.  Once I read a few paragraphs, though, it was hard to stop.

I wouldn't say love stories are normally at the top of my list when I'm deciding on a book to read (although now that I think about it, most of my favorite books do involve some sort of love story), but this one felt near perfect.  And I think I feel that way because I could see Jane's strength of character, and I knew she wasn't in love with Mr. Rochester because he wanted her, or because it would be beneficial for her financially, or even because it was her first real crush.  The love was authentic because Jane is authentic.  I felt Jane's love for Mr. Rochester as deeply and as truly as if it were my own.  This is sort of embarrassing to admit, because who wants to marry a guy who kept his first wife in a closet?  But all the talk of being fit for each other, and complementing each other so perfectly...well, it made me feel all wishy-washy.  And I loved it.

I think I will read Wide Sargasso Sea again so I can fully appreciate the other side, and maybe gain some more insight into Jane Eyre as well.

But UP NEXT: No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women, by Estelle B. Freedman (finally, I am in the mood for it!)

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