Release Date: October 6, 1847
Jane Eyre is the story of a small, plain-faced, intelligent, and passionate English orphan. Jane is abused by her aunt and cousin and then attends a harsh charity school. Through it all she remains strong and determinedly refuses to allow a cruel world to crush her independence or her strength of will. A masterful story of a woman’s quest for freedom and love. Jane Eyre is partly autobiographical, and Charlotte Brontë filled it with social criticism and sinister Gothic elements. A must read for anyone wishing to celebrate the indomitable strength of will or encourage it in their growing children.
Nevertheless, I settled down with Jane Eyre and was quite surprised to find…it was good. Really good. There are no heaving bosoms and quivering members in sight, just a ferociously tough little girl in some very unfortunate circumstances. Jane has so many horrible things happen, the reader can’t help but sing when it seems like things are finally looking up for our little orphan.
I won’t go so far as to say this is a perfect book. I think Miss Brontë would have benefited greatly from an aggressive editor to trim some of the excess verbiage along the way. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While the book may be lacking in some aspects, the story is worth slogging through a few bloated passages.
My verdict: Read it. I was pleasantly surprised by Jane Eyre. Far from the delicate flower that needs to find a strong, rich man (preferably with a title) to care for her, Jane is heroine I can get behind. With the exception of one emo-girl performance (the forest after leaving Thornfield Hall), she is downtrodden but never defeated. It is even more interesting if you take the time to read a bit on the Brontë family and look at the parallels between fiction and reality.