Leslie's Reviews > Becoming Jane Eyre

Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
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Nov 23, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: novel
Read in November, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I enjoyed this book a lot. I really liked how almost every character, in the book had their section, the part that was written first person from his or her POV. The writing is beautiful, the people seem realistic and individual. I know the thoughts, words, and feelings recorded in this book are conjecture based on the known facts about who each person was, but I think the author did a very good job with that. I like, too, that she didn't romanticize the relationship between Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. They were very close, but had disagreements and differences, sometimes got angry at each other. Branwell, the brother and also the dad were portrayed just as I've pictured them from reading different biographies of the family.

I do think that if I didn't already have a pretty good idea of the life of Charlotte Bronte and her family, I might have felt a bit lost--not a lot, but some--in this book, because it jumps around in time a lot. If someone had never read at least one biography of Charlotte, the story might seem disjointed and confusing.

I felt cheated, too, at the end. After all the intimate details of sickness, death upon death upon death, hardship, suffering, and then the triumphant entry into London society as the author of Jane Eyre, her marriage isn't explored at all. We don't get to experience that. We're told she marries her father's curate but she doesn't love him or expect happiness. So why does she marry him? She isn't poor any more. We are then told that the marriage ended up being a very happy marriage and they traveled and she became pregnant and died after being with her husband only nine months.

The marriage isn't even in the main part of the book, it's in the epilogue! Maybe the point is that Charlotte had already become who she became by the time she married. That's true. But after being there for so much of Charlotte's life, I felt really let down that the last happy months of her life were skimmed over and described--not actually written. I know the author would have done a good job, she did with the rest of the book.

This book really is good--worth reading, in spite of ending too soon.
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