Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Official FC Rating:
I just returned this book to the library and now I'm sitting in a puddle of my own tears, totally pining for it.
If you'll remember, Jane Eyre was one of Liz's favorite books she read in 2015. When we wrote down our reading goals for 2016, we also agreed to set challenges for each other. I challenged Liz to read the Harry Potter series (for the sake of her soul!) and she challenged me to read three books from her list of 2015's favorites. I chose Jane Eyre first because I didn't realize it was 680 pages long. The nerve. I'm glad I didn't realize just how heavy it was, because I might have shrunk away in fear. But! Things worked out, I read the book, and I am better for it. Damn, it was amazing. It is, I think, my new favorite (not counting Harry Potter). (Actually, I think it is going to be my forever favorite. You know how people are asked what their favorite book is and they can immediately answer, "Pride and Prejudice!" or whatever? This may sound odd, but I feel like I've never been able to do that, since no book has spoken to me quite like Harry Potter, and Harry Potter is, um, seven books. Charlotte Bronte has solved this problem for me. Thank you, Queen Bronte. And I guess thank you, Lizette, too. ;)
Yes, anyway, back to Jane Eyre. The writing takes some getting used to. That's true of most classics, I think. But it's great writing, once you get the hang of it. It took me about 70 pages before I started to appreciate just how beautiful the actual writing was. I don't need to go on about the writing - it's a classic, everyone knows it's good. I'm just saying, if you're like me and usually struggle with classics for a hot minute, stick with it. You'll get used to it.
There's not a ton to say since it's a classic and people have been reading it, and writing about it, for literal generations. Here are my main thoughts:
I loved the independence and resilience of Jane.
I loved her ability to stay humble while still understanding her worth. (Though I was mad at/for her several times throughout the novel when she'd accept no compliment or treat.)
I was intrigued by Rochester. I adored him (not at first).
I liked how many themes Bronte played with. She did so brilliantly.
It dealt with the ideas of atonement and redemption and forgiveness well. And I love when a novel does this well. (Unlike, to an extent, The Kite Runner. Ahem.)
I really liked some of the other characters, particularly Diana. I think it was Diana, anyway...
"My pale little elf" is my newest favorite term of endearment.
The dialogue between Jane and Rochester was enchanting.
I liked that I felt as though I was reading a beautiful love story while reading about a woman overcoming abuse and neglect while reading about morality. Again, a nod to Charlotte Bronte.
Basically I loved everything about this book. If you're new to classics, pick this one. If you're looking for strong female characters, pick this one. If you're looking for a bit of feminism, pick this one. If you're looking for a romance, pick this one. Just pick this one.
Liz said Jane Eyre, as a character and as a novel, will stick with her for years to come. I quite agree.