As today is World Book Day, I thought I would write a special review. So, here goes. This is my review of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (it bothers me that this blog site doesn't seem to let me type umlauts... although there is a fairly interesting story behind the umlauts, so probably they shouldn't be there anyway). Normally I would shy away from reviewing such an infamous classic, but it is my favourite work of fiction, which I like to think makes this a special post.
This novel is cherished by many, and rightly so. This is a book that, I believe, contains everything a good book should. This is Gothic fiction at its finest, its sharpest and its most poignant. This is not a girly book. It contains romance, yes, and is probably the most genuinely romantic book I have read, exploring the idea of soulmates and the connection that this brings. But it is so much more. This is a novel that is ground-breaking, tragic and genuinely terrifying.
The language Bronte uses is so precise that each sentence reads as poetry for the word sounds alone. She conjures settings with uncanny realism, which sucks us into the vortex of the novel. And we do not want to escape. More than this though, the emotions she evokes are so exact that we feel them to our core. We weep and lust and recoil just as our heroine Jane does as she boldly leads us through the plot, taking each hurdle in her stride, but also thinking upon it deeply.
It has been said many times before, but I will say it again: this novel was truly ahead of its time. Here we have a first-person narrator who is not only a woman, but is an independent, working, thinking woman. She longs for equality with men in a way that does not deny her femininity. She is young and inexperienced, but incredibly wise at the same time; I truly admire the faith Bronte furnishes this character with. If you have not read this book, I implore you to do so.