Book review: Jane Eyre, the ultimate romance


Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Book description: Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

My review: I can’t tell you how unexcited I was to start Jane Eyre. I like to think of myself as a reader, but the reality is, I’m kind of a fraud. I always go for the easy read. Not to say all easy reads are bad, but when they’re the only thing you read … it’s not much of a challenge. So going with my challenge to make myself a better reader, I decided to tackle Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. This book is so beat up because it’s been sitting on my bookshelf, pretty much since it was written, taunting me. I could never get rid of it, because I hadn’t read it, and what kind of a reader could I be if I hadn’t read it?

I was thinking it would be full of headachy dense prose, where I guiltily would start to skip ahead by pages to avoid confusing discussions of family lines or dull descriptives of the countryside (hello, Russians!). Instead, was I ever happy to find that Jane Eyre is absolutely awesome, fully of smutty goodness. Seriously, this reads like a ridiculous romance page-turner, only better written. There are abandoned orphans, scary boarding schools, love between classes, haunted houses, secrets in the attic, lunatics and bigamy. Not to mention desperate runaways, romantic near-starvation (although I’m not quite buying it after only three days), bizarre deus ex machina twists of fate, disfiguring fires, surprise fortunes and ghostly whispers. Also, at the heart of it, true love. Sigh. I loved it.

Things I did not love: stupid St. John, who was a total dick. I also hated how Jane got all doormat-y around him. And St. John is a really stupid name.

Mr. Rochester definitely gets my vote for sexiest man in the book, especially with an eye-patch.

My delight in Jane Eyre is making me reconsider my disdain for the classics. I might need to start picking these up a little bit more often. I had no idea how much fun it could be.


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