I’m slowly working my way through some classics, and before starting this one I knew absolutely nothing about what was going to happen. And I have partly mixed feelings. I loved the first third of the book, found the second third quite boring, and then really enjoyed the last third, so I’m not quite sure where I stand. I absolutely adored the character of Jane throughout the whole book and even when the plot dipped, I carried on reading because I wanted to know what happened to Jane. The writing was really easy to read and was actually quite funny and sarcastic at times, which I was really not expecting for a gothic classic. I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, and I found them all interesting – even the characters who were absolute idiots and whose heads I wanted to squish. I enjoyed how the romance and the mystery elements were weaved together to create the story and generally, I found this one very entertaining to read.
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.
I’ve already touched on how much I like Jane as a character, but I really did love her. She was independent and strong-willed and didn’t let anyone walk over her or treat her like dirt – which, face it, a lot of women were treated badly. As well as this, she was kind and understanding and patient and I utterly loved her character. I also loved how elements of feminism were weaved into this book; Jane really is one of the first literary feminists. I’m not entirely sure where I stand on Mr. Rochester’s character because while I liked him, nothing made him fully stand out and made me fall in love with him. But he was nice, and I really enjoyed his banter with Jane. I really liked seeing how many female characters were in this book, and how they were all very unique and different and strong-willed. There wasn’t exactly a ‘villain’ character in this book which I found interesting, especially for a piece of gothic and classic fiction.
The plot of this book was very straightforward and I usually enjoy a plot that is full of twists and turns and reveals and revelations – but I hardly ever strayed from the text. A lot does happen within the story and there is a lot of action that I wasn’t expecting. Obviously, the romance element is the main part of the story but it isn’t the only part of the story – a lot of the book follows Jane trying to carve a path for herself with what society and the world has given her. I found the first part of the book, where Jane is in the orphanage, to be one of the most gripping parts of the book and I really empathized with Jane because it sounds like a horrendous place and Jane tackles everything like a true little trooper. I did begin to lose a little bit of interest when everything seemed to be going smoothly between Jane and Rochester and that isn’t something that I ever though I would say. Yes, I enjoy and love romance and while I enjoyed the relationship, I really didn’t want to read about just that for a solid 100 pages.
Overall, I’d give this book a very specific 4.25 out of 5 stars, and I ended up liking it a whole lot more than I thought I would going into it.