Oh dear Reader, how I urge you to read this novel. I write this only moments after listening to the final words of this literary masterpiece. How is it this book has struck such a deep and resounding cord in the depth of my being? This, after all the trash talking and eye rolling the ‘Victorian’ style of writing I’ve done since high school, often making a point to mention it, almost taking pride in the fact that I was above the flowery out-dated writing. This book has revealed to me my foolishness, and I take back every foul word I’ve ever addressed to the genre, as you, Reader, as my witness.
I am caught by a feeling now, between not being able to say enough, and being completely speechless. This book has had quite a journey with me; from an tedious obligation (which I ignored) in high school, which made me feel remorse and deep guilt, to indifference, to moving me deeply and becoming a beautiful memory. I knew from near the middle of this book that it was going to be one of my favorites, and in time, it confirmed it’s space at the top of my list – a list that contains every book my hungry eyes have ever poured over. I have a feeling just now that is hard to put into words…but I will try.
I want to sleep with this book under my pillow. I want to purchase the audiobook for myself to listen to repeatedly whenever I am feeling down, or the least bit bored, or just craving the companionship of true love and beautiful writing. I want several copies with the name Jane Eyre in physical form so the words will never be too far from me. I want a small one to carry in my purse…possibly until the end of time. I want a small mass market paperback copy to mark and highlight and dog-ear pages. I want to keep a beautiful leather-bound copy perfectly preserved, so I will have it, brand new, forever. I have a leather-bound copy now…but the volume is shared with Charlotte’s two sisters’ work. Oh how I wish it only contained my dear friend Jane Eyre. If ever I were to collect several editions of the same book, it would (and will) be this one.
I was so frightened for a time, when Jane left Rochester, that we might not meet him again. I was not familiar with the story whatsoever, and hadn’t read any books like it, so did not know what to expect. For all I knew, the tradition at the time was to be tragic on purpose. I recognized, so whole-heartedly, the perfect love they had for one another. One passage struck my heart so dearly, as something I’ve felt so exactly with my own love::
“I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you – especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame.”
And it is that feeling, that string that suffocates when taken too far from it’s ending, which resides in the soul of your love, that makes me believe that I have found my soul mate in the man I love now. That sentence, written by a young Charlotte Brontë in a foreign country 150 years ago, went straight through my heart – and I knew that Edward Rochester truly loved Jane Eyre.
Many a time when reading this book I wondered what the purpose of the story would be, but oh, how wonderfully beautiful it turned out to be, and needless, my worry at it’s schemes. I will never cease to recommend this book to people. It has touched my heart, and stirred something inside me, something meaningful.
And these, Reader, are my first reactions upon completing the reading of Jane Eyre, a gothic romance that follows a young girl through terrible circumstances as a detested dependent, through to her womanhood, where she finds both freedom, love, and a family.