I have read several books over the past year that were inspired by or offered different viewpoints on other books and stories. These included "The RedI have read several books over the past year that were inspired by or offered different viewpoints on other books and stories. These included "The Red Tent", "Wicked", "The Hours", and most recently "Wide Sargasso Sea." I have enjoyed reading all of them and love seeing new perspectives on classic tales. "Wide Sargasso Sea" is Jean Rhys' take on Bronte's "Jane Eyre". However, instead of focusing on Jane Eyre, Ryhs instead turns the lens onto the life of Bertha, the mad woman who is locked in the attic of Mr. Rochester's house. The story takes place in Jamaica and Dominica in the mid-1800's. It is a time of unrest between the English colonizers, the recently freed slaves, and the Creoles. Antoinette Cosway (Bertha) is the Creole daughter of former slave owners and an heiress. Rhys relays Antoinette's lonely childhood and her misfortunes with friendship and love. Antoinette's family arranges a marriage for her with a young English gentleman, Mr. Rochester. The book sheds a new, completely different light on the character of Mr. Rochester than what we saw in "Jane Eyre". "Wide Sargasso Sea" is narrated in several different voices including Antoinette and Mr. Rochester. These voices switch throughout the novel with little warning. Some may find this hard to follow. The novel also creates a great sense of place. Rhys does an excellent job of evoking the hot, humid atmosphere of the Caribbean.
"Wide Sargasso Sea" was a recent selection in my book group. We enjoyed discussing it while dining on Caribbean fare. The discussion focused on topics such as colonialism, rich vs. poor, slavery, love, and of course madness. This was a good book for a discussion group since there were many themes to cover and also since it was inspired by "Jane Eyre", the group could also compare both books. I read the Norton Critical Edition of "Wide Sargasso Sea" which contained footnotes and an Appendix of essays and articles written about the book. The footnotes helped to deepen my understanding of the book since there were many references (literary and otherwise) that I may've missed.
I loved Wicked and was really looking forward to this continuation of the story. Sadly, I did not enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Wicked. It justI loved Wicked and was really looking forward to this continuation of the story. Sadly, I did not enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Wicked. It just didn't seem to have the same magic. ...more
Definitely one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's full of irreverent humor so is probably not the best read for anyone who is really sensitiveDefinitely one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's full of irreverent humor so is probably not the best read for anyone who is really sensitive about religion....more