Thursday, January 28, 2010

Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel

Are you a fan of the Bronte sisters? Do you enjoy Jane Eyre? And have you ever been curious about the life of Charlotte, Emily, and/or Anne Bronte? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you should check out Sheila Kohler's novel Becoming Jane Eyre.

It was an easy and entertaining read. But do not be swayed by my usage of 'entertaining'. I do not mean funny or amusing such as a television show might be entertaining but more as if it captures your interest and keeps you wanting more even after the end of the book.

The book is both fiction and biography. It generally follows the footsteps of Charlotte Bronte but switches perspective to those around her- her sisters, her father, etc. The story itself follows the literary creation of Jane Eyre. It's always one thing to read a book but something completely different to dive into an authors mind and see how the story is put together and what makes it turn into what it is.

The microscope is put against Charlotte's mind as she at times cannot put the words on paper quick enough and at others seems to suffer from writers block. Sometimes for writers it appears that when you are amongst a great amount of ideas the rest of the world ceases to exist, but Becoming Jane Eyre seems to point out that the world does continue to go on.

The Bronte family was plagued with a curse of illness. The mother died when the children were young, Charlotte's two older sisters both died when they were very young, and after publication of the remaining sisters books both Emily and Anna (and their brother) died. The ache of loss and longing for family is clearly portrayed in this book alongside the creative power of these sisters.

One thing that I found odd about this book was that 90% of it was lacking any spoken dialogue. Everything was written in the thoughts of the characters represented and there was only verbal exchange when it seemed entirely necessary. In some ways I was left wondering about the conversations that could've potentially been presented. But at the same time I feel with the lack of dialogue it left me able to submerge further into the inner ramblings of the Bronte's themselves.

I feel the book was a decent read that kept my attention from start to finish. Something that's perfect for the chilly days of January and February.


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