Book Reviews

Jane Eyre || what was this + could have gone without + a love story I didn’t like

jane eyre.jpgTitle: Jane Eyre

Author: Charlotte Bronte

Genre: Classics

Synopsis:

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and 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.

let-me-rant

Disclaimer: spoilers while describing what happens through the book.

I have wanted to read classics for so long, to understand what is so special in these that so many people talk about it. Granted, many are like me too, not being able to finish reading them. I had started reading Jane Eyre quite a few months back but never finished it because it was not very interesting and doesn’t capture the attention. I had bought the book purely on impulse because the cover is pretty.

I finally got to finishing this as part of the A Classic A Month challenge hosted by Charley @ awriternamedcharley. Glad I finally got it behind me!

Now, let me sort by my reaction as I read the book. The book is divided into three volumes.

Volume 1

I was enthusiastic to read this with such a pretty cover, and a pleasing font, that I kept some arrow sticky notes with me and tabbed all the lines and paragraphs I liked. This went on for about one volume. After the first volume, it was pretty boring so I paused, thinking I’ll come back to the second volume after a break. That break lasted months.

About the story, it starts with young Jane Eyre who spend her early years with her aunt and aunt’s family, and was basically treated like Cinderella. After that, she was sent to a boarding school where she spent all her years, not even leaving during the holidays. She becomes a teacher in the same school and is there for a couple more years after which she takes up the job of a governess at Thornfield.

Volume 2

Jane is not a particularly beautiful woman. Mr. Rochester is quite not handsome, and that was one thing I liked in this book—both the main characters are not dripping with good looks. In fact, quite a few places through the book other characters comment on this. This volume shows Jane and Edward Rochester falling in love with each others’ personalities and mind rather than looks. Jane is a woman who does not apologize for being frank and giving comments. Mr. Rochester is refreshed by this.

Honestly, Jane was okay, but Edward was quite commanding and expected Jane to do everything he says. The way he speaks does not consider the other person’s choice. Everything he says could have been a question but instead it’s a statement.

When the romance started, I perked up, thinking it’ll become better and read it with reinvigorated enthusiasm. The language and way of speaking, though, dulled all of it. In the end of this volume, they’re almost married but some complications are brought up and it’s cancelled. This is the biggest volume.

Volume 3

Jane, who’s trust in Edward has now shattered, runs away. She makes another life and somehow, with some help, gets back on her feet. Briefly, there’s another love interest, but you can’t really call it that because the two didn’t love each other. It was something stupid which I could have totally done without.

If you get into Jane Eyre with expectations that it’ll have something different, forget that notion. It’s like any other book of a love story, only here there are lots of unnecessary parts (almost whole of volume one, to be honest) and dialogues and scenes, with characters whom you will mostly not like.

In the end, she goes back to Edward Rochester (who’s life has changed quite a lot in the meantime), they reconcile, and happily ever after.

Conclusion

I see nothing special about this book and I would recommend you to skip it. I do know that some readers really liked this book though, so it depends. If you want to read classics, you can give this a go.

two-stars

Goodreads

 


For next month, I’ll be reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as part of the A Classic A Month challenge.

 

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8 thoughts on “Jane Eyre || what was this + could have gone without + a love story I didn’t like

  1. I enjoyed your review even though Jane Eyre is my favourite novel I do appreciate it isnt for everyone. Even though the love between Jane and Rochester is a big part of the novel this, imo, is actually about the strength of a woman who has had nothing in her life who has been treated coldly making her way through life and suceeding on her own and by her own means in a mans world. For me if you read this book thinking its a love story you probably will be disappointed but if you read it for what I believe it is supposed to be which is a book of strength and inspiration you are more likely to enjoy it. Yes some of it seems to drag a little and some of it is slow but none of it is unnecessary because it teaches you why she is the way she is, why she accepts certain behaviours (rightly or wrongly). Also Rochester often spoke in commands because he is her boss, in those days there was a very clear divide between employers and employees and it would have made no sense for this book written in this time to have had him being nice and polite from the offset.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that it’s more about Jane and her strength and character than it is about their love story, which is only part of what the whole story is about. It is, after all, titled “Jane Eyre”. It is one of my favorite books too, but I can see how many readers find parts of it boring and unnecessary – perhaps reading the abridged version might be a way to start? I read that the last time I wanted to enjoy the story but not read the whole of it (which I also didn’t have available to me at the time). I think it’s an extraordinary piece of writing when one takes Charlotte Bronte’s life and life in general at that time into consideration.

      I was also told by one of my literature professors that most people either like Jane Eyre or they like Wuthering Heights (by Emily Bronte), but not both. I found Wuthering Heights extremely boring the first time I tried reading it, and couldn’t finish, but the second time around I found the story quite enjoyable!

      I look forward to hearing what you have to say about Pride and Prejudice!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Maybe because I read Jane Eyre as leisure than for school, I didn’t enjoy it that much? I do think that I should reread it, and maybe with the thoughts about Jane more than others. I will be reading Wuthering Heights for March, and I hope I like it. It’s an interesting theory that people like only one of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I actually never read Jane Eyre for school – I borrowed it at the local library when I was 13 as an audiobook and I would sit and listen to it for hours just playing solitaire with myself! I was a bit of a weird child/teenager haha! I didn’t like WH when I read it as leisure but it was okay when I read it for school my first year in university! I hope you enjoy it, it is also an interesting story. My copy of it has extra pages in the back that talk about reading it from a Marxist/Feminist/Naturalist etc perspective, which is also really interesting!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s interesting because I’ve found the same thing my mum loves Wuthering Heights but isn’t keen on Jane Eyre and I am the complete opposite I found Wuthering Heights to be boring and problematic (even for the time) and I adore Jane Eyre.

        Liked by 2 people

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