Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

This book was a large reason why I finally read Jane Eyre - a serial killer satire of Jane Eyre sounded amazing. The peek that Wendy at Literary Feline gave into the book intrigued me and I decided that I had to read it.

Jane Steele is a big fan of Jane Eyre. However, she and Jane Eyre are vastly different - starting with the fact that she’s a serial murderess. But inspired by the book, Jane Steele decides to pen her memoirs.

This book is basically what happens when you take Jane Eyre and ask “what if I made her a feisty girl?” When faced with danger, this Jane repeatedly chooses the “fight” response, rather than flight or to bear the whole thing.

I found that many of my objections to Jane Eyre were addressed in this book. For example, this Jane is openly affectionate to her ward, Sahjara, who is an enchanting character in her own right. In general, I thought the non-Jane female characters here were a lot more sympathetically written and showed Jane’s generosity of spirit (no matter how evil she thinks herself).

I also found Charles Thornfield, the Mr. Rochester of the book, to be a decent human being. He has his demons, same as Rochester, but he managed to hold on to his sense of decency and never locked anyone (first wife or not) in an attic.

Speaking of the characters in this book, I absolutely loved how they came to life and participated in the story. Jane Eyre was very much about Jane and her experiences and feelings. Jane Steele has Jane become involved in the lives of the people around her, which lead to both mystery and adventure. Needless to say, I found the plot (and characters) of this book to be much more entertaining.

It’s pretty rare that I say this, but I like this satirical look at Jane Eyre much more than the original story. If all the Jane Eyre adaptions are this good, then I definitely will not regret reading the original anymore.

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