Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Classic Double Challenge: Jane Eyre vs. Jane

Okay, I wasn't going to do a double challenge for this one, but after I read Jane, I just had to get some of the original in my system. I watched my favorite movie interpretation (the 2006 miniseries with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens which you need to go watch RIGHT NOW if you haven't seen it and are a Jane Eyre/period drama fan) and it still wasn't enough so I reread Jane Eyre. And by the way? It's no contest. Jane Eyre is by far the superior book here. :D

From Goodreads:
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

My Rating: *****

Quite simply one of my top favorite books of all time. There's so much to say about Jane Eyre but it's all been said. I'll just say that for me, Jane has always been an inspiration. She comes from a quiet, abusive background and with nothing but sheer determination becomes educated and talented. She finds true love and she has the moral courage to leave it behind when it becomes wrong to stay. She cares more about family than money. She learns to be happy even with a broken heart. It's so easy to cheer for Jane when she finally receives everything her heart has ever wanted. I just feel like I've learned so much from her and can always find some new trait she has that I want to emulate every time I read it. And what a story. So sweeping! So gothic. And Mr. Rochester. Yeah. What can I say? I love Jane Eyre and I always will.

From Goodreads:
Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?

An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers

My Rating: ***

I liked this much less than April Lindner's Catherine, and maybe it's because I like Jane Eyre so much more than Wuthering Heights. It takes a lot to try and retell Jane Eyre and it just wasn't good enough. But still entertaining, nonetheless.

Maybe it just tried too hard to be like the original. In Catherine, April Lindner took a lot of plot liberties (which I liked), but Jane is trying too hard to be the real thing. Almost every scene in Jane was taken from the original - even most of the dialogue was just paraphrased. I liked the rock star twist, but I really had a hard time seeing any chemistry between Nico and Jane. I just didn't see what Nico saw in Jane. There were no sparks, no real reason why he'd fall in love with her. In the real Jane the romance is instant and real and this didn't even come close.

Plus, certain things were different that I had a hard time with. Why, in this modern world, would Nico choose to stay married to his insane wife? And mental institutions are not as bad as they were in Jane Eyre's time so I really don't understand what the hold up is. Except it's almost like Nico's still in love with his crazy wife, which messes everything up. That's just not right. How can I believe he loves Jane, that he's found his soul mate, if he still has feelings for his wife? Plus, what happened to Jane's moral fiber? If she's willing to sleep with Nico so quickly why does she care about being his mistress when the truth is revealed? It just didn't add up for me.

Anyway, it was kind of fun to read as a Jane fan, but also incredibly frustrating. I liked the modern setting, but this retelling fell short for me in every other way.

1 comment:

melissa @ 1lbr said...

You've pretty much captured my feelings for both Jane Eyre and Jane quite well. So glad you did a comparison and picked up the original. I can't remember if I've seen the miniseries, but probably as I've seen pretty much all Jane Eyre iterations. I love the BBC one from the 80s, despite its very dated look. It was so true to the book!