Friday, 7 December 2012

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

At the start of the year I set myself the target of reading 25 books in 2012.  At times it looked like I would read far more, and at times I felt as if I'd never make it.  Still, 2 days ago I finished reading the book that took me to the finish line, and it was a great book to finish with.

There are many books that I feel I should have read, and among those are a lot of classics.  This list includes Jane Eyre, but I've always been put off borrowing it from the library because of its length.  Enter the Kindle, meaning that it is just as light as other books and doesn't feel like such a mammoth task.

Jane Eyre is written as the autobiography of the girl with the same name.  I say girl, at the start her childhood memories are played out but much of the book is focussed on her life aged 17 and over.  Living with harsh relatives as a child, Jane struggles to grow up with others as she attends school.  But it is after she leaves school and enters employment that things start to get really interesting for her.

In the end, length wasn't an issue at all.  I initially decided to have this as my 25th book to ensure that I finished it in about a month, so taking under 2 weeks was unexpected.  Although the childhood scenes at the start could be hard going at times I quickly became obsessed with Jane's world and wanted to read more.  That buzz of wanting to continue reading after the end of my lunch break returned, and wow did it feel good!

I think the main factor in making this such a compelling read is how wonderfully real Jane herself is.  She isn't perfect and doesn't pretend to be, and there's an inherent honesty about her character.  The story itself is beautifully written, particularly when retaining the values held at a young age.

As for the themes covered, well that's a fairly long list.  Family, wealth, religion, loneliness, love - just a few that immediately spring to mind.  And the honest method of storytelling allows a true understanding of Jane's opinion on each matter, even as those feelings change over time.  Definitely a lot of thought-provoking stuff going on.

It seems almost trivial to state this, but I would definitely recommend this book.  Give it the attention it deserves at the start and it will repay you til the end.  And now I'm off to see if I can keep going and exceed my target for the year!