Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre
By Charlotte Bronte
Release Date: 1847
Source: Own Copy
Summary: 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.

Review: I don't know how I've gone this long without reading this novel. As a future English teacher with a minor in English Literature, you would have thought I would have read this for a class by now, if not at least on my own. Oh, not to mention that I watched the movie for the first time last year and fell head over heels in love with Mr. Rochester (aka Michael Fassbender). Well, I finally had the chance to read Jane Eyre with my book club and it has easily become one of my favorite novels of all time. 

Orphaned at a young age, Jane Eyre is left to live with her cruel Aunt Reed who believes her to be a liar and a scoundrel. Fed up with her, Aunt Reed sends Jane to the Lowood charity school to endure a life of strict rules and harsh punishments. When Jane takes the post as governess at Thornfield, she is content to do her work educating the little Adele in the vast, haunted mansion. When Mr. Rochester returns home, though, Jane finds herself falling in love with him and the two find themselves in a romance that seems utterly impossible. 

Geez Louise, this book. Gah, I am seriously obsessed now. I mean, I was obsessed when I saw the movie, but you get so much more out of the book. First off, Jane is just awesome. I mean, she's this plain, poor girl who everyone hates for no reason yet she never lets that get her down. No, instead she continues to hold her head high and lets others know what she really thinks of them. I think that's why Mr. Rochester fell for her, because she didn't put up with his harsh, pessimistic attitude. Their banter was so much fun and I loved how much they would toy with each other. Those two are just too adorable and absolutely perfect for each other. 

Aside from the romance, I really liked how we got to see so much of Jane's life and how she grew throughout every obstacle that was thrown her way. This was told as a sort of autobiography from Jane's actual point of view, so there were moments she addressed us as the reader, as if we were her friend she was simply telling a story to. Heck yes, I'm best friends with Jane Eyre. Of course, the shocking mystery surrounding Thornfield was INSANE and, even though I knew it was coming, I was still on the edge of my seat, eyes bulging at what was happening on the page. As far as plot twists go, Charlotte Bronte blows all other writers out of the water. It was fantastic! Things got so intense and I could just feel the emotion and desperation falling off the pages. There was just so much emotion and you wanted Jane to act one way even though you knew she couldn't and, well, it was just a whole lot to deal with. And I could not stop reading! 

If you can't tell, Jane Eyre is one of the best classics, one of the best books, I have ever read. There's romance, gothic horror, secrecy, scandal, and a whole lot of drama. Jane is one of the best heroines I've ever read about because she is just average and accepts that, but doesn't let that deter her from holding her head high and holding her ground. If you haven't yet, you absolutely have to read Jane Eyre. It's a literary classic that you won't be able to put down.

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