Jane Eyre Laid Bare: A Review

Jane Eyre Laid Completely Bare

If the title does nothing for you, then the front cover surely will.

The dark, seductive tones and a simple corset make it quite clear as to what the subject matter of the book is going to be.

I had Jane Eyre as a part of my course in the first year of college, but I pretty much passed relying on the  BBC’s version of Charlotte Brontë’s classic. And once I did start giving a crap about Victorian literature, I went back to it. As expected, Jane Eyre was an absolute treat to read.

Now, when this book was given to me, I raised a sceptical eyebrow –not so unlike the look a nobleman would give a gypsy back in those days –and wondered at the “Charlotte Brontë & Eve Sinclair” sitting innocently at the bottom of the cover.

I couldn’t help but wonder why it had been presented  as a collaboration, a novel written by two friends. As I reached the dedication and saw the “For my own Mr. R” the shuddering connection of Rochester to Christian Grey (Fifty Shades Of Grey) was enough to intrigue me. Is Sinclair’s Rochester different or is he a forgettable figure?

I couldn’t wait to find out.

The fact that Jane (the one who, I presumed, was gonna get laid… bare) immediately addresses the reader, sort of left me feeling voyeuristic. I don’t mind a first person narrative, but hey don’t talk to me like you can see me woman!

Of course, once I calmed myself down, a few pages into the book –actually Eve doesn’t wait for even five before the naughty thoughts of Jane emerge –I realised that the point of her style of writing, something the typical Indian audience would probably not be so familiar with, was to open up every dark thought that passes Jane’s mind to the reader. And indeed this really isn’t Brontë’s demure, almost stoic heroine, but someone who’s in touch with all of her darkest fantasies, someone who has quite the lustful eye –as can be seen in her description of Adèle’s nurse.

For those of you who can’t remember, Adèle is the girl Jane goes to tutor at Thornfield, which is Rochester’s place.

So, a few chapters and masturbation scenes (on Jane’s part of course) later, we get to the (much awaited?) introduction of Mr. Rochester.

Now, we all remember how the two meet, and the lovely impression he leaves on her, calling her a witch and whatnot. Well, all I can say is that the encounter is painfully disappointing in this novel. The further we go; Sinclair’s Rochester seems to sort of remember how Brontë intended him to be, and tries to be surly. That’s when another side of Jane is revealed.

“I would pay him as little attention as I felt sure he would pay me.”

This is an almost defiant Jane Eyre who, apart from fantasizing about Rochester, is unobtrusive and meek because she doesn’t want to give him more than he gives her.

As I went deeper into the novel –and forgive me for the unintended pun –I realised that the title wasn’t an indication of a dark, promiscuous Jane Eyre, it hinted at the fact that here is Jane Eyre laid completely bare for the reader.

However, if Goodreads ratings are to be believed –the novel has a rating of 2.27 –the sexual awakening of Jane Eyre, and this 21st century reimagining doesn’t quite make the cut.

Rohan Dahiya

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