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Re Jane

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,638 ratings  ·  656 reviews
For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,638 ratings  ·  656 reviews

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(WARNING: I've made a resolution to write more concise reviews. But this is NOT remotely one of them, because this book really got my goat and so I had to say all the things. You will be given another opportunity to exit this review in a few paragraphs, before it disintegrates into enraged ranting.)

Before I proceed, can we first agree that liberally inserting variations on the phrase "Reader, I _____ed him" into contemporary writing is an ineffective (not to mention annoying) method of linking t
Originally reviewed here @ Angieville

I was pretty excited when I first heard about Re Jane. A contemporary Korean American retelling of Jane Eyre? Yes, please. It's one of my favorite classics, and one I've had success (and some failures) with the retelling thereof. Authors do love to tinker with this tale. I've read every kind of version, from scifi and fantasy to steampunk and contemporary, and I am nothing if not up for another go. So I went into Patricia Park's debut novel with somewhat hi
David Yoon
May 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
At one point Jane, as an Asian au pair in a relationship with her white, married employer set up an unfortunate comparison in my mind. Edward Rochester should not invoke Woody Allen. And the madwoman upstairs? She’s an overzealous, vegan, feminist academic. The whole thing threatens to be a little too New York. And don’t call it a retelling of Jane Eyre. It’s got tons of little Eyre Easter Eggs that provide a gleeful spark of recognition. Currer Bell! Lowood! But in the end the story and charact ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Book Riot Community
A re-telling of Jane Eyre set in modern Queens with a Korean-American protagonist? I jumped all over this with undignified fervor. Jane is an orphan who lives with her super-strict Korean uncle and his family, working in his grocery store while trying to fit in despite being half white and essentially an outcast. In a fit of rebellion, she leaves to be a live-in nanny for a women’s studies professor and her husband, the latter with whom she falls quickly in love. Tragedy strikes (not the one you ...more
If this was not a retelling of Jane Eyre, I would have liked it more. That seems a contradictory thing, but, the worst parts of the book came when trying to fit Re Jane into Jane Eyre. The better parts were the cultural confusion of a Half Korean orphan raised in America faces when she returns to South Korea. I wish this was another immigrant novel, even when they are dime-a-dozen these days.

So. Re Jane (pronounced Ee Jane) is a misunderstood orphan who stays with her uncle and aunt and their tw
Nov 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, 2016
Jane would never ever ever EVER EVER (view spoiler) NEVER EVER. That is fundamentally the core of the book and her character and having her do that means the author DOESN'T GET THE ORIGINAL since that is the WHOLE POINT OF THE STORY.

If this weren't on my Kindle, I would've thrown the book across the room, I swear. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.

That would be like a Pride & Prejudice retelling where Darcy and Liz
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Jane has lived in Flushing, Queens her entire life. After she was orphaned as a baby, her grandfather sent her from South Korea to live with her Uncle in America. She was always told it was for her own good due to the fact that her father was an American G.I. During that time, many Koreans were still racist towards biracial people. Jane doesn't see how growing up in Korea could have been any worse then the life she has in Flushing. She felt the same prejudices in America. She was, if not shunned ...more
Michelle Hoover
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's inspiration was Jane Eyre, but it does such wonderful tricks with that premise. Jane is a smart, sassy Korean-American girl from Queens. Both parents dead, she's orphaned as an infant and raised by her uncle and aunt in a household where perfection is expected, favoritism for their biological children frightening, and outright expressions of love suspect. But the uncle is a heartbreaking figure, both infuriatingly cold to Jane but underneath still desperate to see her suc ...more
Dec 04, 2015 added it
I so enjoyed this, and could relate very much to the cultural dynamics; lots of truths here and the author doesn't sugarcoat observations of culture and class. I haven't read Jane Eyre (unless I did in school and have since forgotten all about it), and while I don't think it's necessary to appreciate the novel, I'm sure it would have added another layer to my enjoyment.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Re Jane is an absolute treat. A re-telling of Jane Eyre with a Korean-American Jane, set in Queens, this book is full of beautiful language, strongly drawn characters, an abundance of heart, and, of course, nunchi.
I love the promise of this book: a retelling of Jane Eyre with a modern Korean-American woman cast in the titular role. Literary retellings are often hit-or-miss with me, but I loved the way Patricia Park spun this particular novel. But, unfortunately, I feel that like many retellings, Re Jane just could not compare to Brontë’s original novel. When I was able to forget the derivative nature of the book, I enjoyed it, but often, and especially during the first half, it was hard to forget.

(1.5 stars) Oh man, I really wanted to like this book: not only am I half-Asian like the book’s protagonist, but I’m also a pretty big fan of Jane Eyre. Patricia Park does a wonderful job of portraying the awkward cultural space inhabited by many people of mixed race. Unfortunately, too many things in this book just didn’t work for me. (Including the writing... the prose itself was riddled with cliches and awkward similes.)

Missing fundamental parts of Jane Eyre’s personality

One of the things I l
Sarah Coleman
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This contemporary spin on Charlotte Bronte's 'Jane Eyre' gets jolt of energy from being set in the Korean enclave of Flushing, Queens. It tells the story of Jane Re, who, as a 'honhyol' (mixed American-Korean) orphan, has always felt slightly at odds with her community. Jane lives with her aunt Hannah and uncle Sang, who, with his pidgin English tough love, is the book's best character. After losing a job with a prestigious bank, Jane is forced to work at uncle Sang's humorously named FOOD, a Ko ...more
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jane, a Korean-American orphan, grows up working in her Uncle Sang and Aunt Hanna’s grocery store in a Korean neighborhood of Queens where everyone knows her business and where expectations are stifling. Home life isn’t much better, where her aunt and uncle indulge their own children but expect more from the orphan Jane, who must quell her opinions and be grateful. Her place in the family is underscored nightly when Aunt Hanna dishes out the best portions of the fish to her husband and children ...more
I loved this book so, so much. Definitely one of the more vibrant, exciting, and bright reads - a perfect kick-off into summer reading.

Really, this is more inspired by Jane Eyre than a retelling of it, though many elements are there. I think the comparison, if applied too heavily, will make expectations suffer. It is a really amazing book, though, and is a contemporary exploration of what the story of Jane Eyre might look like today.

More than just that, it's an introspective on native New York c
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
The danger in reviewing Patricia Park's book is that in listing her many accolades BS accomplishments, you'll miss out on the smart fun of her debut novel, RE JANE.

She's not only a Fulbright scholar, but a first-time novelist who earned the author trifecta:

The New York Times Sunday Book Review named RE JANE as Editor's Choice.
NPR's Fresh Air called RE JANE "a wickedly inventive updating of Jane Eyre,"
And O, Oprah's magazine!!, writes, "Reader, you'll love her."

In RE JANE, Park has dared to re-
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I loved this. Readers expecting a paint-by-numbers adaptation of Jane Eyre will be disappointed. Readers interested in a nuanced examination of identity, place, culture, and family will find much to be engaged by. Park did a great job bringing to life inter- and intra-cultural, ethnic, and racial dynamics, bringing in different perspectives despite the limitations of Jane's first-person POV.

Also: (view spoiler)
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Best riff on Jane Eyre I've ever read (probably the third...). It's not chick-lit and it's not lightweight fan fiction. This is real literature with its explorations of what it means to be a mixed-race Korean American in both the U.S. and in Korea. Jane comes of age as she comes to terms with her racial, cultural, family, and community identities.
Kristin Strong
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love "Jane Eyre", so when I read that this book was a modern-day retelling of that classic tale, I was excited and anticipated reading it. Then I actually read it, and, well...

Jane Re is an orphan who lives with her uncle and his family in a large and close-knit Korean-American community in Flushing, Queens. She is half Korean and half American; her mother (so Jane has always heard) fell hard for an American GI who left her with infant Jane. Her uncle is rather a harsh taskmaster who owns a sm
Joyce Peak
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The coming of age of Korean/Caucasion young woman, her first loves, her trip to Korea to learn more about her mother's side of the family, and her affair with a married man. She came to
America to live with her Korean Uncle and Aunt after her parents were killed in a fire. The uncle was very demanding and expected perfection at all times. The main story from my point of view is whether she is a Korean that will return to live full time in Korea or whether she is a Korean American girl living in
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Since this definitely makes my list of favorite books I've read in the last few years, I'm going to review this like it's serious business. Which it is. Good books are always serious business.

The fact that Re Jane is a Korean American retelling of Jane Eyre set in New York is pretty compelling all by itself. I'm all about classic retellings! And I'm an even bigger fan of Asian Americans portrayed in fiction. I reserved judgement though, because Jane Eyre is, in fact, one of my least favorite nov
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books
The story is supposedly related to Jane Eyre, with "Re Jane" being a pun, as in Jane Redux. I read that classic a long time ago, don't recall much of the plot, but feel the connection hangs largely on the modern Jane's position as a nanny for part of the story.

Myself, I'd compare it a bit more with Cinderella. As the story opens, Jane Re (a variant on the Korean surname Rhee, I suppose) is working in her uncle's grocery in Flushing, Queens, having failed to land a job in finance after graduatin
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm easily suckered in by a modern rewrite of a classic novel, but equally easily disappointed by them. I have a special place in my heart for Jane Eyre, which made this an altogether more dangerous undertaking. In spite of this, Re Jane pleasantly surprised me. Set in Flushing, Queens, Jane is a Korean orphan. She grows up with a critical Uncle, and takes a job as an au pair for an academic couple and their adopted Chinese daughter. I first realised how compelling this novel was, when I realise ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a great debut novel. I loved this book (I am a little prejudiced as I have an adopted Korean daughter). I loved the parts that take place in Korea, especially the scene where Emo takes Jane shopping and everything is wrapped, paid for and handed to them without Jane even trying anything on. One of my funniest memories of Korea. There were hints of Jane Eyre, Orphan, falling in love with an older man, being an au pair, Beth with her dusty office in the attic. But Park so got Jane, seeing ins ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, poc-author
This is being touted as a modern retelling of Jane Eyre and it IS, but it is a very loose retelling. I think that that changes made are for positive and you don't have to had read Jane Eyre to enjoy this. I liked the exploration of Jane as a mixed race girl growing up in Flushing and I think a lot of what is explored in this story is very true for many Asian immigrants & the next generation. However, I felt like parts of this book felt very disconnected and I felt like a lot of the minor charact ...more
Roberta Almeida
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it
A re-telling of Jane Eyre set in Queens? Yes, please!
Jane Re is an orphan, half Korean half white, who lives with her Korean uncle and his family in New York.
The relationship with her family isn't the best and she's desperately trying to brake free from the stigma attached to not being completely Korean and find herself in the world.
Being a Jane Eyre aficionado I loved that this book had so many ties to the original while being a whole new thing!
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book does some wonderful and surprising things with its retelling of Jane Eyre, on of my favorite books. It's well-written and the characters are interesting, but I mostly enjoyed the way it commented on its source material as well as how especially feminism has changed how we experience the story.
Rich Chen
Mar 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Definately one of the most relatable books coming from an Asian American's perspective in America, but the character developments and storylines can be a bit flat. It's really interesting to see how a half-Korean, half-white person develops and finds her own place in society as she weaves around various relationships living with her uncle's family in Queens, her aunt's family in Korea, and her boss's family in Brooklyn, and is a pleasure read given enough time.

Note: This book is a play off Jane
Kim Howard
I didn't hate this one but I also didn't love it. Jane Re is trying to find herself and her identity. She has a lot of missteps and misguided attempts at being happy. She is an orphan of mixed race/nationality (Korean/American). Neither one seems to fit her true self. In the end, there is some resolution but I can't help but feeling unfulfilled with the journey. Cautiously recommended.
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Patricia Park was born and raised in Queens and is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science. She earned her BA in English from Swarthmore College and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. A former Fulbright Scholar and Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction, she has published essays in The New York Times, Slice, and the Guardian. She has taught writing at Boston University, Que ...more

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