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100 Books in a Year: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

By Marra Alane | Books | April 3, 2009 |

By Marra Alane | Books | April 3, 2009 |

(Race note: Marra Alane remains a close third in the Cannonball Read, with 55 books read, trailing Sophia’s 60, and Prisco’s 63.)

Jane Eyre, as I’m sure many of you know from high school English Lit, is the story of the orphaned dependent Jane, sent off to a horrible boarding school for girls because her aunt hates her as a evil, bold little girl. Jane grows up, becomes a governess at the Thornfield estate, and promptly falls in love with her boss (which most certainly was not done back in the day). He loves her as well, and even though he’s kind of an asshole and ugly to boot, she agrees to marry him. Unfortunately, he’s already married to a crazy pyromaniac he keeps locked up in the attic. Jane runs away, and who should she conveniently meet and be taken in by but her long lost cousins. Then she gets a bunch of money and goes back to Thornfield, only to find it burnt to the ground and her boss a blind amputee. But, love conquors all, and they get married and live happily ever after. The end.

You know, for such a classic book, it’s sort of poorly written. I mean, the plot is ridiculous, but at least it’s fun. The dialogue, however, goes on forever and ever. I can’t remember if Jane Eyre was published in installments in the newspapers of the time; that may explain the lengthiness when there’s no need for it. I also find the characters stupid and boring and one-dimensional. Although, to be fair, they aren’t really supposed to be fleshed out; people wrote differently and expected different things from their stories in the 1800s. But still, this is one of those classics I would recommend skipping.

And this is what I don’t get: if the point of all of the novels written in England in the 1800s is to show that those who are good and wonderful get what they deserve, and those who are assholes get their just desserts, how is it that Jane — by being pious and generous and good — gets stuck with a crippled asshole as her reward? Yeah, she loves him, but I can’t figure out why. He’s much more likable in the movie. In fact, the movie is better than the book. Go watch it instead.

This review is part of the Cannonball Read series. Details are here and the growing number of participants and their blogs are here. And check here for more of Marra Alane’s reviews.

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