16 June 2009
Book Review: Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Published: 1847 Pages: 466
Genre: Romance, Gothic
Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid
Weekly Geeks asked participants to list books they have read but not reviewed and then invite others to ask questions about these books. The idea was to help us catch up on our reviews. I listed Jane Eyre as one of those books and four people had questions for me.
Jane Eyre is a simple, plain woman living her life in the pages of this book. She suffers at the hands of her cousins, grows as she receives an education, falls in love with her employer and is betrayed by him, gains new friends and a second marriage proposal, and finally comes into her own life and love.
Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog asks why I first read Jane Eyre and what I most enjoyed or found most surprising about the book.
I'm not sure exactly when I first read this novel, but I know it was sometime in high school. I was in my "all classic novels all the time" stage at that point, so Jane Eyre was an obvious choice. As for what I found most surprising, I think this was the first novel I could classify as romance that was almost antithetical to the typical understanding of romance novels. By the time I read this book, I was already familiar with Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, and a myriad other romance novelists. Charlotte Bronte's style of romance held nothing in common with those books, and yet I felt Jane and Rochester's story more deeply.
Becky asks: Did you enjoy this one? Did you think Mr. Rochester made for a good hero, a good romantic lead? Why or why not? What about Jane did you like best (or like least)? Would you recommend this one to others?
Whether or not Rochester is a good hero/romantic lead is a very difficult question which could take pages and pages to truly answer. On the one hand, he is passionate, unconventional, impetuous, and mysterious - all excellent traits for a hero/romantic lead. On the other hand, however, he is self-serving and dangerous (not in that I can take out anyone who attacks you way, but in that if you annoy me I'll lock you in the attack way). As for Jane, I admire her desire to be autonomous, while simultaneously I love it that she returns to Rochester. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
Infant Biblliophile wonders who I would cast in a play of this book.
I love this question, but it's soooo very difficult to answer. According to IMdB.com, Jane Eyre has been produced over 20 times, and apparently a 2009 film of the novel may be appearing with Ellen Page starring. I think the reason it's so difficult for me to pick a star is that I would probably cast more unknown actors and actresses in a play/movie of Jane Eyre. That way the story wouldn't be clouded by preconceived opinions regarding the stars.
Eva wants to know if I’ve read other Bronte books and how they compare to Jane Eyre.
Unfortunately, I've never read any other of Charlotte's novels, excepting Emma, which in reality was written after Charlotte's death. She only wrote the first 20 pages or so. I've read Emily's Wuthering Heights and absolutely adored it. I haven't read either of Anne's books.
My Final Thoughts on Jane Eyre
This novel deserves the exalted place it has received in the literary canon. The characters and the plot are highly complex, intriguing and surprising the reader continually throughout. Like real people, Jane and Rochester are flawed, and while their love is passionate, it does not supplant logic or smooth over every difficulty as it does in most modern romances. I would highly recommend this book to readers.
Side Note: Read Jane Eyre and then read Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.