My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I only recently discovered Jane Eyre and by recently I mean within the last few years. I acquired my edition (not the one pictured) of the novel printed “under wartime conditions” as a third edition from a used book store for a few dollars. The binding is blue cloth, the pages aged yellow and thick and it sat on my bookshelf for about a year. It wasn’t that I was avoiding it so much as I had an overall disinterest in the “classics” which I considered Jane Eyre to be. There came a day, though, when I had nothing else to read and so the book made its way into my hands. Once the cover was opened I was trapped; sucked into a world unknown to me. Enthralled by the opening chapter of child abuse and neglect, curiosity, and fear, a defiant child already self-affirmed in who she was I lamented in having to put the book aside for our present day reality.
I have since read it three times yet it is never far from my nightstand. It gets better with age and with each reading your appreciation will grow for characters and author. It didn’t take long for me to become completely obsessed in finding a movie adaptation which would satisfy and honor it adequately. The 2011 version comes mighty close and who can complain of Michael Fassbender’s Mr. Rochester? No one.
While this may strike you as a love story at first, I encourage you to look deeper into the character of Jane. Charlotte Bronte has done a magnificent job at portraying a life of sharp corners and hard tongues in which a young woman is created as one of the strongest, most thought provoking heroines I have ever read. With exacting self-control and unwavering connection with her inner self Jane inspires me almost on the daily to be strong and true to who I am. If such a character can endure so much compared to my so little; who am I to waver? THAT is what this novel can do.
I won’t ruin it for you, but her speech to Mr. Rochester in a moment of truth is just stunning. They are words I wish I had written. This level of writing is that which I strive to be able to mimic. It’s absolutely brilliant.