Monday, April 09, 2007

I beg to differ


I was all set to like this book. What could be more interesting than a book about the crazy lady living in Mr. Rochester's attic in Jane Eyre?

Except this book is ridiculous. The summary on the back of the book set it up all wrong, in my opinion. Here is what is says:

"A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush, natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors' sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak British home."

I don't know what book the person who wrote that summary read, but it can't have been Wide Sargasso Sea.

First of all, Antoinette isn't sold. She is technically the purchaser - it's Mr. Rochester who is sold. I'll give you Rochester being coldhearted and prideful in Jane Eyre, but in this book he's really not like that yet. And technically, it was Rochester's father who succumbed to his need for money, not Rochester himself.

The last sentence spirals into complete hyperbole. I don't even know what it's talking about.

I get the feeling that after reading this book, my opinion should have been something like, "Wow, how enlightening to hear the story from a different viewpoint! What a brute Mr. Rochester was and how wronged was poor Antoinette!"

Instead, throwing all sense of feminist political correctness aside, it's more along the lines of, "This lady was psycho and Rochester was right to lock her away. Also, this book is deeply disturbing."

Sorry, Jean Rhys. Better luck next time.

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