To think that I let 40 years go by before I read Jane Eyre. Oh, the condensed version was assigned in high school, but I merely skimmed it. I probably didn't like the opening pages because Jane's sour rich Aunt and her bratty cousins rubbed me the wrong way. I was an impatient reader in my youth. If I didn't like a tale by the end of the first chapter, that was it for me. And most likely I thought Rochester was a simp and Jane one, too, for being in love with him.
So, what got me to finally read it? The BBC movie of Jane Eyre with Tobey Stephens and Ruth Wilson. After watching it a few years ago, I was sold on the plot and the characters so much that I bought the book. But, I didn't read it. A couple weeks ago, the movie was being shown again on TV. It was a two-parter and I couldn't bear to wait a week for the ending. So, I searched through my pile of books for it.
Wowza! The book was far better than the movie. Now, I understand why Jane Eyre is a classic tale that many people will read over and over. Heck, I read it twice last week.
Jane is my kind of woman. Feisty, independent, clear-minded, and passionate. There is much to learn from her. To forgive and forget. To take a stand for oneself. To love and be loved. To not be afraid to say and do what is in your heart. To walk away. To return.
I think Bronte was very brave to write and publish this book. It was the mid-1800s, and I wonder how many people were offended by her story. She wrote about a little girl who stands up against emotional and physical abuse and who grows up to seek adventure and the means to support herself rather than find a rich husband. Bronte also tackled such issues as the crass rich and the religious without heart. I am most surprised about how openly she wrote about men and their mistresses.
Do I still think Rochester is a simp? Yes. But, after seeing him through Jane's eyes, he is redeemed and I quite understand how she can be in love with him.
On my arbitrary scale of 1 to 5, Jane Eyre is a 5. I'm ready to read it again.
Jane Eyre is one of the books I'm reading for the Off the Shelf Challenge.