. Athena's Books: Thursday Trailer! Jane Eyre Revived!!! She's now just Jane...with a Cell Phone!
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday Trailer! Jane Eyre Revived!!! She's now just Jane...with a Cell Phone!

Jane Eyre...that classic from high school lit class...I remember it so fondly... actually, I don't. All those Austen and Brontë books seem like one big blur of reading. I guess I'm really only familiar with Pride and Prejudice, followed by a plot knowledge of Sense and Sensibility and Wuthering Heights, and a shakier knoweledge of Jane Eyre.

But now that I've read a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre, it's all coming back...the dark and mysterious Mr. Rochester, the plain Jane who served in his house, and his downright crazy ghost of a wife who plummets to her death. I remember the big details and the torture of reading Jane Eyre in high school.

On to Jane by April Lindner! Like I said, it's a modern day retelling of the classic novel but with a rock star Mr. Rochester and a nanny Jane. No...she is not his nanny! That would be "icky" for the lack of a better word. Isn't a major age difference bad enough?

Well, he's got a kindergarten daughter (a.k.a Spoiled Princess) and Jane ends up with the job since she has nowhere else to go. "He" is Mr. Rathburn as Jane calls him, but the whole world knows him as Nico Rathburn, one of the gods of rock glittering with a rocker past of fast cars, leather pants, drugs, and women. Apparently, Jane has lived under a rock for the past 18 years or she doesn't watch the E! channel because she knows virtually nothing about all his womanizing escapades and drug frenzies. She spends an entire evening with the Internet version of Mr. Rathburn via the gazillion paparazzi photos and celebrity articles of past debauchery, failed marriages, and rise to rock god status.

Of course, there's more to him than what E! reports. He's getting ready for a more adult/subdued come-back and doesn't really know how to be a father. Either way, he is never really home. Oh, but when he gets home...high swoon factor for us girls because immediately you know this will be a story of "opposites attract." Demure, quiet, little plain Jane is going to do some serious big girl stuff with Mr. Rathburn (described in PG-13 standard since this is YA). And I don't think it's anything the original Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester did in their quiet chats in front of the fireplace...this is 2010 woman stuff with a thirtyish rock star.

Well, if you've read Jane Eyre, then you know what happens. But what I really enjoy about this book is that you forget about the old Jane Eyre. This is like a whole new story with a fresh take on what it means to have nothing and then be swept of your feet to a whole different society...only to be left like a deflated balloon without any direction. This is Jane at the beginning after the recent loss of her parents, this is Jane after the whole affair with Nico goes down, this is Jane when she leaves new friends and a possible safe relationship with another good-looking guy. Hmmm...she must not be that plain because Jane describes this other guy as Greek god.

There's only one thing I question about this book...does the Jane Eyre ending we know really work for readers in our contemporary society? I know they say age doesn't matter and that you can't help who you fall in love with, but we already have the perception that rich, famous men marry or simply carry on with young, skinny women. Mr. Rathburn has live liked 7 lifetimes and kept a crazy wife in the attic. Why does he deserve Jane?

Nico Rathburn is a sympathetic character at times, but that's not enough. This Jane is smart, responsible, beautiful, resourceful...she's a survivor, and I want to see her with someone her own age who can live 7 lifetimes with her. This is not the 1800's where the best available men are rich, aging men who will provide a sound home and safe economic situation. He's been the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Byronic hero and now he's ready to settle down with someone about 15 to 20 years younger who can still eat as much pizza as she wants? I don't know. This is like the one non-YA aspect of the book. I often found myself imagining he was just like in his mid-20's...but he's not.

Nonetheless, you will get caught up in their romance and be rooting for them to get together...up to the moment where all the craziness starts and Mr. Greek god comes into the picture (but this is just personally me).

Still...this book has the "keep you up half the night" factor, and you will not want to put it down...especially if you know nothing or practically nothing about the real Jane Eyre.

April has a background in literature, and I really respect how she tackled one of her favorite novels and brought it back to life for today's YA audience. And if I hadn't read Jane, I might never, ever, ever have remembered Jane Eyre or reviewed the term Byronic hero and qualities of Gothic literature. Hmmm....I might just read Jane Eyre soon.

Don't let the cover keep you from reading it. I know it still looks like it takes place in the 1800s, but it doesn't. This Jane gets a cell phone from Mr. Rathburn.


Penelope Lolohea said...

Very interesting! I like your review, and am now interested in this book. I have to read Jane Eyre first, though, so I know what to compare it with. For some reason, I never got around to reading it!