Thursday, 12 November 2009

Jane Eyre

Well, I did read this over the summer, in the end. (Yes, I'm still on the books I read over summer, but you'll be glad to know I am now actually reaching the end of my huge long list, which was 45 books long... I haven't written reviews of stuff I've read before though, and one or two books I read that weren't so good I've basically forgotten what happens (they were pretty mediocre fiction), so I won't bother with those either). I put it off most of the way through the summer holidays, and realised three days before going back to college that I was actually going to have to read it. So I picked it up and tried to find the point I'd abandoned it at about three years earlier because I just couldn't face any more, and realised that instead of it being a third of the way through, as I'd thought, I was actually only three chapters in :(. It dragged, is all I can say. I had to bribe myself with letting myself reread Foxbat by James Barrington, and the truly excellent Excavation by James Rollins (have I reviewed that? I should do if I haven't, it's amazing!) in order to get through it. To be fair, I thought the plot wasn't too bad. I suppose I've been 'spoilt' by reading such fast-paced thrillers as Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly, which goes ridiculously fast and has stuff happening constantly, but I couldn't help but find large parts of Jane Eyre rather boring and superfluous. For a lot of the book, the most fun I had was looking up the occaisional word I didn't know, and finding out that a Barmicide Feast was from Arabian nights after a rich guy pretended to give a beggar a feast, but it was actually just a plate with nothing on. I enjoyed, I have to admit, the part where she was flirting with Rochester while still a governess, but I guessed really early on that there was either an illegitimate child or a wife in the attic (without having ever gone near the story before), and that kind of spoilt things for me. And then there was the whole wandering in the Moors. When she was lying in the heather etc I found myself wanting to slap her and scream at her to stop being so pathetic and feeble, and to just go back to Rochester, marry him, and let me go and read something a bit more exciting. However, it did end (fairly) well, although part of that might have been my relief that it was finally out the way.

To be fair on the book, when reading it in small chunks to analyse in English Lit, I have enjoyed looking at it. There's a limit to how much you could possibly write about something like Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly, because it is literally all action. Maybe something about the evils of capitalism??? I know that my dislike of Jane Eyre is rather controversial--I was surprised to find myself rather in the minority in my English Lit class, and when I commented that I didn't like it on Facebook, I got a considerable number of people saying they totally disagreed. Fair enough, but I suppose romance (or at least, romance this long-winded) is not my style of book. I don't think it's fair to say that just because it's a classic everyone should read it and enjoy it, and I also don't think it's fair to slate authors such as Dan Brown (I really enjoyed Digital Fortress), just because they're thrillers and they're somewhat escapist rather than 'serious'. Digital Fortress does address the issue of whether or not the government should be allowed to read our e-mails. I wonder if the government reads this? And I was hoping to pair Mattimeo by Brian Jacques with Jane Eyre, as Mattimeo is definitely a bildungsroman, and involves plenty of journey. However, the Welsh exam board said it had to be a 'respectable' sort of book, and as Mattimeo is technically a children's book, and also about talking animals, I don't think it quite fits into that category. It's a brilliant book though, and it certainly addresses the issue of growing up and of having expectations placed upon you that you might find it difficult to live up to/ don't want to live up to. I honestly think Brian Jacques' books deserve to be classics far more than Kidnapped which I never managed to read and did not get past the first page when I tried at an age when I (supposedly) should have enjoyed it. Anyway, that's enough of a rant about Jane Eyre. I wouldn't recommend it, but a lot of people would, maybe you should try a few pages (the middle bits are the best bits...).

No comments: