Being 22, almost 23, I’ve reflected on the different books I’ve read and those I plan to read. When I think back on the favorite books I read as a child and a teenager, my mind immediately goes back to the book that resurrected my passion for reading at the age of fourteen.
I was a freshman in high school and hadn’t read many classics up to that point. Sure, I read the whole Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis series along with the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. But these didn’t make me truly fall in love nor inspired me to dive into the classics. In a world where Twilight was all the rage and girls my age were flocking to gain a copy, I barely knew where to begin even if I had decided to read anything written before the 1980’s. Then along came my English Composition and Literature I class.
Flabbergasted, we received our first “Required Reading List” of the semester. From Animal Farm to Tale of the Two Cities, everyone, including myself, didn’t know where to begin. All I have to say is, library book descriptions are amazing! As random as that sounds, if it wasn’t for those, I probably would not have chosen my choice or even be writing this in the first place. I honestly don’t think that people appreciate the time and effort taken for those who add those descriptions to those internet pages. Regardless, I remembered the description filled with mystery and intrigue that I had to reserve this book right away. This book, of course, was the beloved classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
It may have been Jane’s voice, her situation, a connection, or maybe the tone of it all – whatever it was, it gave me a love for this story. It is not a love story, per se, but a story of independence, trial, heartache, betrayal, redemption, and over all growth. It is not a Jane Austen melodrama (don’t judge) but the opposite. It proves that regardless of where you come from, there can be light at the end of their personal dark tunnel. I don’t usually get emotional with a whole lot of books but these one had what I like to call “Crying Points” which I’ll label as we go. Now I won’t be spoiling all of this story, but I’ll be laying out the foundation on where to begin for yourself.
The story opens up to a young orphaned Jane Eyre taken in by her uncle and his family who grew up in torment with her vicious aunt and two spoiled cousins. Always accused and labeled a “liar”, she grows up dealing with the repercussions of these labels and accusation up till she is an adult. Her only comfort during these times were her doll, books she would lose herself in, and her nursemaid Bessie. At the suggestion of a family friend, Mrs. Reed orders for Mr. Brocklehurst, director of the Lowood Institution-a school for poor and orphaned girls, who feeds him lies of her own about Jane. Upon her departure from the Reed Estate, Jane gives her word that she’ll reveal the truth about her aunt and her family.
Crying Point #1 – Jane is sent to Lowood where she learns the value of friendship and a loss of a true friend as a result of the prejudices of the time. Jane goes through the motions of being publicly humiliated by the director of Lowood, Mr. Brocklehurst. Of all of the children in the parish, Jane was befriended by a red haired girl named Helen Burns. Helen remained her faithful friend by standing up for Jane during one altercation with Mr. Brocklehurst, resulting in them both having their long locks of hair sliced off. Now because of Mr. Brocklehurst’s budget restrictions, the children lacked appropriate clothing, bedding, and food rations which caused the children to grow ill and die rather quickly. Unfortunately, Helen became a statistic in Lowood’s cemetery of lost children due to Mr. Brocklehurst’s budget and his punishment. Even in death, Jane remained by her side while the grim reaper took Helen over to the other side.
Years pass, people change, but Jane only grew wiser and sharper than ever. She earned her place as a teacher in Lowood and gained the friendship of a coworker, Miss Temple, who found Jane her very first real job outside of Lowood. We then sit beside jane as she travels to the next stop in her personal journey: Thornfield Hall.
Crying Point #2 – Thornfield Hall is where the story, in my opinion, truly begins. She becomes the governess of a young French child named Adele Varens. I list this as a crying point for a personal reason but I’ll disclose it right now. Adele is the daughter of a French performer who wooed the master of Thornfield Hall-Mr. Rochester. Only, Mr. Rochester does not claim the child as his own. Quite the opposite, really. He showers her with gifts from his various trips, but he still admits he doesn’t fully love her. It’s not Adele’s fault, not at all. Instead, it was her mother’s betrayal and cheating ways that paved this path. I couldn’t help but feel for her.
Jane takes to the child immediately and to her new residence. Only, Mr. Rochester was a different story. He confused her in a way from the way he treated her. One minute he would be hot and the next cold. I mean he even drove me nuts while reading but he eventually grew on me. However, he had a secret. A secret that Jane wanted to uncover. For example, strange cackling noises arose from the top floor of the house, almost as if someone was having a mental fit. Jane would investigate but would only find the introverted servant, Grace Poole, alone. Another example was when Mr. Rochester’s bed caught on fire when there was no lit candle in sight around the bed.
I won’t spoil anymore but Mr. Rochester’s secret is one you will never forget and is revealed at one of the worst times ever! Worst time for Jane, that is. But I will say their relationship is one of my Top 10 Book Relationships. They transform in such a way that you can’t help but feel jealous. Jane is not a beauty queen, by any means, but Mr. Rochester doesn’t look for that in her. Instead, he shoots for her on the inside. He sees her past pain through her features, her actions, her posture, and he takes it and tries to make it better in his own way. I loved the ending but the points leading up to it are extremely unexpected and completely unpredictable.
I give this book a complete 10 out of 10 Book Charms, hands down! If you have read this book and enjoyed it as much as I have, leave a comment down below! I want to have a “fan girl” time about this book. Do you agree with my rating? Let me know!
Read this book if you haven’t!
*Images used were from film adaptions of Jane Eyre, Pinterest, and Tumblr.