Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, since I've been on a Jane Austin kick and I happen to see the movie "Jane Eyre" who had an actor from "Persuasion" as Rochester, I decided to give it a go. That lead to looking for more movie versions of "Jane Eyre" (I get obsessed sometimes). I read that Toby Stephens' Rochester from Masterpiece Theatre's version was fantastic and steamy. So I figured I would give it a try, not expecting to like it half as much as the BBC version. Alas, I fell in love with Toby Stephen's Rochester. I watched it several times and then grabbed the book off my shelf so I could compare the dialogue between the two versions. Finally I stopped the movies and threw myself into the book.
Ah Ms Bronte. You wove such a tale that when I was younger I would not have appreciated the difficulty of Rochester's life decisions, nor Jane Eyre's. There were passages where I stopped and reread for the simplicity of the power of her language. For example, when Charlotte Bronte writes, "And with that answer he left me. I would much rather he had knocked me down" I don't think one too young can understand that intense feeling, how devastating one's coldness could be to someone who is passionate. (And that just made me dislike St John, the person she was writing about, even more.)
I have carried the book around with me this week so that I can read whenever possible. In between my daughter's surgery and running for ice chips. Admittedly I did sneak it several times because my stomach was in knots waiting to see what and why and how Jayne Eyre would carry on in a time when women were limited in their choices. I was often mad at her for her apparent coldness to Rochester, even though I understood her motivations and fully supported her. I wanted her to cut him some slack, and I really wanted her to toss St John on his backside. (She was good enough to be a labourer for St John, but not to love! Hurumph.)
Then when Jane Eyre heard Edward's voice cry out to her and she answered. AND HE HEARD. Wow. I thought how powerful a connection they have (I believe in that stuff), even though she does not tell him that she did cry out those same words. More than just a romance novel this book made me rethink the time period, the long walks that cleared one's head and made one healthier (I'm afraid of the dark and JE often came home wet and in the dark, weren't there wild animals there?) and of course the importance of staying true to one's core. Afterall if you don't have yourself, then who do you have when everyone else leaves you?
I did wonder why Ms Bronte left the book ending talking about St John though, instead of our Edward, since he was the chosen one and the one I most wanted to know 'what else' about.
I enjoyed the "Dear Reader" aspect of the writing and I'm considering using that tool myself since I found myself looking, paying more attention when Ms Bronte addressed me specifically. It was as if we were talking across a cup of tea and she was trying to give me a head's up to what she was thinking.
This is a book I would reread. It actually made me consider working on a course of women's lit...The Nondamsels or something like that. Enjoy!
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