Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jane Eyre… Is She a Fairy?

I become curious about Gothic Romances, go to the Amazon Best Seller page for the genre, and download several of the top books. What a mixed bag. I finish one book, stop reading a second, and am more than half-way through Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
I don't know why I always confuse Jane Eyre and Amelia Earheart, but I do. In the past, whenever I've come across the novel or name, Jane Eyre, I've always thought, oh, yeah, that's the chick who flies airplanes. Apparently, Eyre and Earheart are homophones in my mind. Shoulder shrug. Palms to the ceiling. Look, I have no excuse, it's just what happens. But Jane Eyre hangs out in the top 20 Gothic Romances, so for $0.99 I'll check it out.

OMG. That opening scene is so fantastic. Funny, in a grim way. Sad. Devastating. I have to re-read it. John Reed throws the book… AT HER HEAD. And so Charlotte Brontë reels in another reader. And by the time I reach Jane's exit interview with Mrs. Sarah Reed, I've join the swelled ranks of those who've come before me—thousands of ghostly readers (dead and alive) lined up through time fist-pumping "Our Jane."

Because she kind of becomes "Our Jane." The heroine who finds her voice, and at such a tender age. To be able to deliver so severe a tongue-lashing—and with such clarity—at ten years old. Would that have been me, I dream. (Maybe others do too. Uhmhum.)

Look, the book is old. Orphanages, rigid social classes, gender stereotypes, and tedium abound. The best bits are Rochester's claims that Jane is a fairy, some creature from Elf-land. And of course, there's that nod to Beauty and the Beast…