Jane Eyre, a girl of no importance and the daughter of an unapproved match, lives a troubled life for her first ten years under her aunt's roof. Her parents died when she was a baby and she was left as Aunt Reed's charge with no other living relatives that she knew of. When her aunt can no longer stand Jane any more, she sends her to a boarding school where the rules are strict and the headmaster is every bit the tyrant Aunt Reed was. But Jane conquers, becomes a teacher, and then wishes to become a private tutor. After her ad is received and her application accepted, Jane finds herself in the home of a mysterious and strange man, Mr. Rochester, who has put his ward, Adele, under Jane's tutelage. But then Jane finds herself falling deeply in love with Mr. Rochester, who she could not imagine would love her in return. This, and the strange happenings in Thornfield Hall, give Jane cause to doubt her future. And when Mr. Rochester's dark secret reveals itself, Jane must question her love and discover what she must do with her life before she can find the happiness she never had.
This is one of those "Can words describe?" books. And while I feel there aren't very many words that do an adequate job, I will try my best.
Can you believe that I haven't read this book yet? I can't. For years, people have been telling me, "Sierra, you have to read this book." "Sierra, this is one of the best books I've ever read." "Oh my GOSH! You haven't read Jane Eyre?!" "What are you waiting for, you, the reader, of all people?"
So here I am, having read (devoured) the long awaited book that has been loved, cried and giggled over by hordes. And I'm here to tell you people who have not yet read this book - "What. In the world. Are. You. Waiting for?!" (I know...I'm one to talk...but now I know how everyone else feels! haha!)
Throughout the course of the book, I got choked up. But there was too much ahead to slow down, stop, and actually cry. However...when I got to the last chapter, I lost it. Tears came and the two-year-old little boy I was babysitting put down his yogurt and stared at me, head cocked to the side, probably completely confused as to why I was smiling and crying at the same time. After all the heartache and sadness, and even the little bits of joy in between, the happiness of the end just overwhelmed me. It was just too beautiful to not feel that way - there was so much emotion in my heart that I felt it would almost burst.
Jane is a character I look up to - I want to be like her. Her decisiveness, her courage, her resolution, her faith...it amazed me, and amazes me still, even after the book has been set back on the shelf. She knew what she had to do and she did it - no matter the cost. And the way she loved everyone so unconditionally - especially Mr. Rochester - continually surprised me. Her kind heart, her gentle but firm manner, and her intense love... Wow. I also loved her close study of human nature and how she described and saw people - why she was intrigued by them.
Mr. Rochester himself is quite a character. Going into this story, I was NOT expecting him to be the least like he was - physically ugly and mentally independent. He was strange, but yet so perfect for the story. In all my travels through literature, I've never met a character like him, and I doubt I ever will again. That character will always be embodied by Mr. Rochester alone. I easily fell for him as Jane did; her love for him was pure; she never once judged him for his faults; she loved him all the more for them. The reader cannot help but feeling the same. I loved seeing his pride break down, slowly but surely, and the way he described the experience after. It was just amazing.
As far as the story line and the writing... Both were equally magnificent. The story captured me from the first, especially when I expected the novel to begin when she was older. But I loved every bit of it - every second was glorious, and painful and lovely. I cared for Jane so much that it didn't matter what she was doing - I wanted to read about her. And Mr. Rochester and St. John and Adele and everyone else. The writing was incredible, down to the very last word. I loved how she wrote most of the time in past tense, and then sometimes slipped smoothly into present tense, showing the reader exactly what it felt like, to be doing instead of remembering. I'm actually not a huge fan of present tense, but this was so perfect I just couldn't resist liking it.
Favorite character: Mr. Rochester because of his originality...and how much I loved his character within the first few pages of his introduction.
Favorite aspect: DUH! The love story, of course! Totally intriguing the way it was played out, the intensity of Mr. Rochester's secret hanging over it part of the time, the rest being Jane's own doubts about Mr. Rochester's nature or her sadness over him being engaged to a woman who would not and could not love him - and who he had no passion for either. Oh my gosh this story had me in its clutches and didn't let me go!!!
There are no single words to describe this book. Magnificent and heart-pounding and gut-wrenching are about the best I can do. They are true - as true as true can be - but there is something about the book that can only be felt and understood by reading it yourself. It's not anything that can be described - it's an experience. One that I can't wait to relive again and again and again!!