Monday, February 7, 2011

JANE EYRE Read-a-Long: Check-in #1

This post will contain spoilers about Charlotte Brontë's classic novel Jane Eyre.

I'm through the first 12 chapters of Jane Eyre after starting on February 1; the chapters are short and it's such a pleasure to read that my pace of 2 chapters a day has been easy to maintain. I think I missed one day this week but with only 38 chapters in the book, and 28 days in the month, I'm well-positioned to finish on time.

So far, we've seen Jane's loveless childhood with the Reed family, her school years at miserable Lowood, a charity school, and the beginnings of her time at Thornfield Hall, the mansion where she goes to work as a governess after spending time teaching at Lowood. Jane Eyre is not a book for people who were happy children. Jane is a misfit, a child at the mercy of hard-hearted adults who escapes into books. Jane's Aunt Reed treats Jane like a nuisance and a bother. Jane is her dead husband's niece, forced on her care; plain instead of pretty, headstrong instead of eager-to-please. She sends Jane to a school whose material landscape will match her aunt's emotional landscape. Gateshead, her aunt's manse, is luxurious but emotionally barren; Lowood is the opposite, intellectually and emotionally rich but a place where children starve and die for lack of basic food, clothing and shelter.

Thornfield looks to be a restful place, comfortable and opulent and also filled with kind people who like Jane and respect her, too. She settles in, gets to know Adele, her young pupil, and the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax, who will become her main confidante.

And this is where I leave her for now. In a chapter or two she'll meet the dark and mysterious Mr. Rochester and the book will take an entirely new turn- the love story will commence.

I love this book so much and reading it is always such a treat. Tonight I'm reading a graphic novel, A Mess of Everything, by Miss Lasko-Gross, about another teen girl who feels like an outsider, whose strong opinions and outspokenness gets her into trouble and it occurred to me that every girl (and woman) who's ever felt like she didn't belong, and wanted to write about it, owes something to Jane and Charlotte Brontë; another great reason to read this wonderful book.

Read more posts at Laura's Review Bookshelf.