Sunday, March 31, 2013

[Review] Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte

Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Bronte
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: 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. (

Okay, so I can't believe I didn't read this book until now, at the age of almost eighteen. (hey, almost Jane's age, come to think of it)
I bought this a few years ago but since I wasn't very good in English yet I had to postpone the reading. (don't ask me why I bought it in English when I couldn't read it, because I really don't know......)
So now that I've finally had the pleasure of reading all five hundred pages of Jane Eyre I can happily say that I loved this book. The Bronte sisters are obviously very good at narrating of loves that trascend time and space (hi Heathcliff). 
But what I liked most about Jane Eyre wasn't the love story (althought that was also very good), but Jane's interior growth. At the age of ten, she was a weak girl who had no relatives, no connections, no self-esteem, not one single person on this earth who cared about her and made her feel special. Everything changes when she starts school, though. Here she meets her first friends, and here she has the possibility to learn and be good at something. It's gratifying for her, she finally feels like she's worth something, Jane feels like there's something that she can do well and that there are people who care about her. That's when everything changes for her and her life begins. She find the self-esteem she was lacking before, she develops a very strong character and she turns into the strong woman we know. She doesn't let other people tell her what to do. She knows her own, and she wants respect. All the respect she wasn't given when she was a child.
I loved her character for that. It told an important story, one which everybody should keep in mind: that no matter how low you are, how worthless you feel, you can always rise on your feet, and fight, and be strong, and beautiful in your own way, and people will love you because you'll get to show them how good you are. Never give up. That's what I learned from Jane.
Of course, her lovestory with Mr Rochester was very nice too. It kind of annoyed me how Charlotte Bronte would keep saying that they were both really ugly, though, to be honest. I couldn't help imagining two trolls strolling around with how many times she repeated that. So I had to fight that nasty mental image all the time. But anyhow.
What I liked most about their romance is that they were really true, and funny, and good characters. They loved each other even though they were ugly (so Charlotte says), and they made each other angry, and sometimes they despised each other, but they couldn't get enough of each other and each was the other's missing piece. That's a kind of love that everyone would aspire to (contrary to, for example, Cathy's and Heathcliff's, which as much as it was romantic, I think you will all convene was not healthy at all). Honest, real, down-to-earth. 
Jane also had the self-respect not to give herself to Mr Rochester when she found out he already had a wife, although being with him would have made her very happy. She stayed true to her values for all that time. And even when coming back to him (for she couldn't stay away too long, which was very understandale) she found him a *spoiler* blind cripple *end spoiler*, she stayed with him. 
Because that's what real love looks like.

About the style of writing, well needless to say it was written in the nineteenth century so I can't really say much. I'm not an expert. The only thing that I noticed is that sometimes Charlotte would switch between the present and the past tense in moments where there was no need to, so that confused me a bit. Other than that, the periods were not too long (hello, Dickens), so I wasn't the least bored when I read (which is something that, admittedly, happens to me sometimes when reading Classics) and that's a plus.

There's not much else I'd like to say about this novel. I really really liked it, I liked the message that I gained from the book and therefore four stars. (I am not giving it five stars because some things in the book were a little too coincidental to be true, and also that present/past tense problem I pointed out)