Review: Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte

Read: 9
To Go: 91

Book List:
1. Best Friends Forever — Jennifer Weiner
2. The Very Picture of You — Isabel Wolff
3. First Impressions — Nora Roberts
4. Blithe Images — Nora Roberts
5. Beauty Plus Pity — Kevin Chong
6. The Drop — Michael Connelly
7. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald
8. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen
9. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte

“Top 50 38 Romantic Lines” read: 3/38

Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, where she endures loneliness and cruelty, and at a charity school with a harsh regime. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit — which prove necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves?

Romantic quote: “Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear” (Bronte 347).

As you may have intuited from my last two reviews, I have an obvious distaste for the “classics.” With few exceptions, they have not been kind to me; I don’t like their verbosity, I don’t usually enjoy their overall themes, their characters bore me, I can’t relate to anything or anyone. However, Jane Eyre pleasantly surprised me.

I’ve heard that there’s an inherent team-choosing between the readers of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters; you’re either firmly one or the other, and I must say I’m on team Bronte. Like Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, before it (I actually read that about five years ago now), Jane Eyre charmed me and warmed my heart.

I’ll be straight with you guys, I’m exhausted and I really desperately want to go to bed, so I’ll break Jane Eyre down into the good and the bad. There is no ugly.

The good: the romance, obviously. I mean, it’s not heralded as one of the greats for nothing. I fell in love with Jane and Mr. Rochester, their love affair was thoroughly believable for the time period this was written in, and the Stylist quote was swoon-worthy (both independently and in the context of the novel). I also loved how strong a character Jane was, though I wasn’t considering it much while I was reading. In retrospect, I would consider her a pre-20th century feminist. She stood up for herself, she didn’t stand for any rude talking or injustice, and I like that.

The bad: the sheer length of it. When I saw it was 525 well-sized pages I nearly wept. And this took me five days to read, which also made me come close to tears. But that was the only thing wrong with it. Everything else I liked.

Next book: Something more modern — and short. My mind needs a break.

– Kelsey

(Also, a quick aside: the interview with yours truly will be in this week’s issue of the Ryersonian. Pretty cool stuff, so if you’re in the neighbourhood pick up a copy! I’ll probably post a copy here as well, because I am endlessly vain.)

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2 thoughts on “Review: Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte

  1. Great review! I read this book last year and really enjoyed it too 🙂

    I’m also trying to read 100 books this year, but I’m finding it hard to keep up! I’m not quite as brave as you though, and haven’t chosen any 500+ page books yet!

    • Thank you, Lou Lou! 🙂 It really is a great book!

      Honestly, all you have to read is about 1 1/2 books a week to manage the challenge, and if you’re not able to read longer books to accomplish that it’s not a big deal. The only reason I’m reading them so quickly now was because I did the challenge last year and I think it’s made me a faster reader (or, at the very least, more accomplished at finding/creating time to read :P).

      Thank you for commenting! And good luck with your challenge this year. 😀

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