3 December 2015

Book Review: Jane Eyre


Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontё
Year of publishing: 1847
I read: the 2003 edition by CRW Publishing Limited

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


Let me just say that I am absolutely in love with Jane Eyre.

The blurb I stole from Goodreads doesn't do the book justice. Then again, it's difficult to summarise it in just a few paragraphs.

The scenes with Jane and Mr. Rochester are my favourite parts. They're masterfully written, with so much tension and emotion behind the dialogue. Though the love story is not the only story that is told in the book, it definitely is the most interesting. Both Jane and Edward are complex people with strong personalities, which makes their relationship challenging and complicated.

Jane Eyre is incredibly realistic, as far as the people in the book are concerned. It feels wrong, even, to call them characters, because they're so real. I was emotionally invested in Jane's story from the first chapter, and found it impossible not to hate the Reeds.

This book is also wonderfully surreal, with gothic and supernatural elements blending perfectly with the story. A few scenes I found genuinely scary, and throughout the whole book Brontё maintains a gloomy tone, with the settings and the climate mirroring the characters' mood.

I do have but one complaint with the story, and that has to do with one plot point being way too coincidental and fantastical to be believable.

My nitpicking aside, Jane Eyre is a masterpiece. At first, I was a little intimidated by the book's size - it's over five hundred pages long, depending on what edition you're reading. I was in the middle of NaNo and I didn't want to take on a project I couldn't finish. But the story is so enthralling and the language is so vivid, that it didn't feel like I was reading a chunkster.

Often, with chunksters like this, there's a lot of fillers and the story tends to drag. Jane Eyre is not one of those books. Brontё makes every page count.

Of course, I'm giving Jane Eyre 5+ stars.

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