Sunday, January 23, 2011
YA; Classic Retelling
Source: Library-I've been very impressed with its selection of YA reads lately!
Summary: A retelling of Charlotte Brontë's classic story Jane Eyre set in the 21st century with college dropout Jane Moore and rockstar Nico Rathburn in the roles of Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester. Possible spoilers for Jane Eyre.
Thoughts: I really wasn't sure about this book because I'm not a big fan of the Brontës (Austen>Brontë) and I read the author's note and she's obviously somewhat crazy for preferring Charlotte Brontë to Austen (I can't see how sense of humor could not beat dourness every time) but she had a good point about how their works have not been adapted (perhaps because Austen is universal (and awesomer!)) Also the fact that Rochester is considered sexy is crazy; compromising the morals of the woman you claim to love by attempting bigamy and then to make her your mistress? Not sexy! However I loved this adaptation (and I'm getting psyched about the new film version)!
Because of Jane's parents' death, she is unable to afford her expensive college so she decides to apply for a nanny position. She is placed as the nanny to rockstar Nico Rathburn's daughter because of her lack of celebrity knowledge. While there she slowly falls in love with the daughter and with Nico himself despite their considerable age difference. When they confess their love to each and prepare to marry, their wedding day is spoiled with most unwelcome news. She flees and has to find her purpose again.
As far as my remembrances of Jane Eyre, which I've only read twice, the story as a whole lines up well. I particularly liked the end although I don't want to spoil it. The changes Lindner made were fantastic-perfect updates to reunite Jane and Rathburn. Also in case you were wondering, the age difference (at least 15 years by my reckoning, possibly as many as 20) was not creepy. I was worried about that but it didn't really bother me although of course tabloids within the book make sure to mention it.
I was also wondering about how a modern woman gets forced into a situation like Jane Eyre's and I thought that was handled well. Jane's family situation is heartbreaking and really helps explain how she acts and how her character was formed. She is morally worthy and loving and a character I loved.
Rathburn, as a former debauched rock-star, has some problems from the past but he is attempting a comeback while also trying to handle his role as a father to a child who only reminds him of the pain her mother caused him. Jane's guidance helps mold him into a better father and helps heal the daughter's confusion over a mother who abandoned her and a father who acts inconsistently.
One odd detail I noticed was repetition of Jane being thirsty and drinking water. Something about that picked at me although I don't think those instances hindered the story in any way.
Overall: One of the best retellings I've ever read; recommended if you've read Jane Eyre or will soon.
Cover: Stormy and atmospheric although I would have preferred to see Thornfield because the setting actually isn't that stormy.