Sunday, August 8, 2010

Review: Jane Slayre

Jane Slayre
By: Sherri Browning Erwin, Charlotte Brontë
ISBN: 1439191182 (9781439191187)
Original Work: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

Jane Slayre follows in the footsteps of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in that it brings a new interesting light to a classic. The original work of Jane Eyre is a Gothic romance with the main heroine being a plain governess that possesses a spark uncommon for a woman of her time. Her counterpart is played by a Mr. Edward Rochester. Jane Eyre and Jane Slayre both overcome great odds to not only improve their station (which never really was all that important) but make themselves greater than what anyone thought they could and equal to their prospective Mr. Rochesters.

After reading this book I found a whole new respect and perspective on Jane Eyre. I read the original work in high school for Advanced Placement Literature for a summer reading assignment. [Yes, I actually did the assignment. Sue me, I like to read!] When I first read Jane Eyre it was a chore and I was fearful this book would be the same, and boy! I have never been so glad to be wrong! This book gives this classic work a fresh light and a chance at meeting a whole new audience. Jane Eyre as a character was irritatingly passive aggressive and didn't seem to have much direction at all. Jane Slayre on the other hand while she did go with the flow and had her passive aggressive moments, she also was exciting and dynamic.

As far as how the new additions changed the story, I found it wasn't drastic! It was entirely believable (with some exceptions) and just brought the conflicts into a more dramatic light. For instance, we can show the differences between Jekyll and Hyde by changing their voices but throw on a costume and change the body language and its a whole other animal. Jane Slayre did this for Jane Eyre. The addition of classical ideas of zombies, vampires, and werewolves just enhanced the previously monstrous characters (pun intended).

The central love story was pretty much the same as the original story with one twist at the end. You will have to read it to the end to get it. (No skipping ahead!) As far as the Misters Rochester, I still find him annoying! I am all for a heroine saving herself and proving her worth but come on! Man, be a man! How hard is it to tell the truth!
::SPOILER:: If you have not read the original work or this book do not proceed. I technically, never had a crazy significant other but I know I wouldn't have treated Jane or Mrs. Rochester like that. The thing that always bugged me is that she goes back! I understand she loves him (and my reaction maybe because I am of this time) but MOVE ON! He has proven himself to be a coward and a liar (by omission).

Now on to the things I wasn't overly thrilled with. Jane Slayre as a character is a little too modern for the time period in which she is supposed to be in. Which in most cases with this book is a good thing because it breathes new life into the story, however somethings could not be over looked. Some of the language was way to modern especially in regard to her time with the Rivers' family. It was a little glaring and more reminiscent of something Buffy would say, such as "stake-o-matic". That was definitely not a statement I expected from this time period. As far as Jane Slayre's character I liked her much better than Jane Eyre. Jane Slayre was far more assertive in herself than Jane Eyre was. Jane Eyre also managed to remind me of a thirteen-year-old girl crushing on a much older man. Jane Slayre for the most part was slightly better.

Personally, I think this book is a fantastic book! I think this should be on the reading list for schools because it gets the same points across, and a sense of the times (yes, the language for the most part does stick to the time period) but would probably not instill the same dread that the original work has come to. This is not to say the original work is anything short of a masterpiece (and it is) but this book would be a great start for readers whom consider the classics dreadful and hard work instead of enjoyable. So basically I consider this new genre (classics with a twist) to be like a gateway drug that can lead to life long addiction to enjoyment of reading and classics. I give this book an easy four.

No comments: