Thursday, March 24, 2011

reader, i can't say i liked it...

blurb: 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.

reasons why jane eyre cannot be rewritten with a modern twist:

1. it's creepy when a 19-year-old nanny goes around falling in love with her 30-something employer
(with subclause 1.1 being that its particularly creepy when she insists on calling him "mr" and not his name)

2. when a grown man locks his schizophrenic wife in the attic, with only an alcoholic nurse to look after her, it's not pathetically, romantically tragic - it's effing criminal.

jane is a beautifully presented book: gorgeous, whimsical, mysterious cover and lovely rough-edged paper. but on the inside it's a horse of a completely different colour.

that colour is twilight.

i know that jane eyre is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's one of my favourite books for its simple but lyrical writing and for jane - the reserved, but strong-willed, independent woman. plus, it's rawther romantic.

april lindner's jane is an intensely boring character - an affront to feminism. in trying to portray jane as staid and introverted, the author has made her bland. her falling in love is unbelievable, her calling him mr rathburn the whole time is unrealistic and creepy, and she was forever going for a lie down on her bed to listen to his music, which she had never been interested in before, but wow! listen to those lyrics! that voice! swoon! i think i'm in loooove! jane in this incarnation is ... bella.

even bloody wikipedia gets it: [jane eyre] is a novel often considered ahead of its time due to its portrayal of the development of a thinking and passionate young woman who is both individualistic, desiring for a full life, while also highly moral. Jane evolves from her beginnings as a poor and plain woman without captivating charm to her mature stage as a compassionate and confident whole woman. As she matures, she comments much on the complexities of the human condition. Jane also has a deeply pious personal trust in God, but is also highly self-reliant. Although Jane suffers much, she is never portrayed as a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. For this reason, it is sometimes regarded as an important early feminist (or proto-feminist) novel.[1]

there is no such jane to be found within these pages.*

five-year-old maddie (whom jane is supposed to be nannying) is used merely as a prop, brought out when jane needs to speak to/be in the presence of mr rathburn. (and also, i don't know many five year olds who have a nap every day). nico rathburn is basically edward cullen but cooler (can i help picturing him as rufus humphrey? no i can not). any spark or attempt at love twixt the two characters falls flat. the dialogue is clunky and at times it feels like the characters are just play acting, trying to give the impression of being like jane and mr rochester.

i was intensely disappointed by this one.** it hurt my heart.

*i know there will be some who don't see jane eyre this way.
**and i couldn't help thinking: so much work goes in to producing a single book and in this case - why? what did someone see in this book? where did they envisage it going? who are its readers?


  1. Oh no! Yeah, I can't see this one working at ALL, for the reasons you gave. I guarantee someone was thinking of $$$ and not actual, you know, whether Rochester would come off as a pyschopathic pedophile.

    Not everything needs to be Twilightified!!

  2. Oh, God. Jane Eyre is such a great book, and young women should be reading it, and not books like this, for all the reasons which even Wiki gets and more ('Even' Wiki: I quite like Wiki) ... am currently reading a wonderful bio of CB by Margot Peters (pub in the 70s - old but good) so am deep in Charlotte world, and am outraged the the nth.

  3. And PS Kate - make sure you get to the Felice Brothers - they are not coming any further north than Sydney - I did envisage going south - either Syd or melb but am feeling too old and busy and tired. I want a full report!

  4. Excellent blog post! You seem to have upped your game since Arlene came on the site.
    I really want to read this now...

  5. gee thanks la dashla. and yes, this is just the kind of book you would like. will tide you through until elixar 2.

    jo - yes siree! not missing them for anything. got the tickets and vair, vair excited.

  6. The sequel to Elixir will be Devoted, don't pretend you don't know that. and yes i'm very excited and will definitely need something to keep me going until Clea's next adventure...

  7. It hurt your heart? I've rarely read a book that made me feel that disappointed, but I know the feeling and it's awful.

    Love this post though. You really know how to make a good case.


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