o I did the three R’s on a friend’s book, The Eyre Affair (Received, Read, Reviewed). Attempted to Rave but, as mentioned HERE, I got Rejected. Man, felt bad about this.
However, my wife and I did do dinner with this person a while later. It was one of those comfortable evenings; a quiet restaurant, good conversation, good food. And even though she’d bombed the book, I mentioned it anyway. I thought it was good, regardless. Hey, everyone’s a critic, present blogger included.
Oh, and minor spoilers ahead, that is, if you are going to read Jane Eyre and wish to be surprised by this slow-moving bodice-ripper.
So when I’d borrowed this book, I was a little leery because I had not read Eyre. I was told not to worry because the author pretty much streamlined an explanation about novel’s plot. Fine. In a nutshell, Jane meets Rochester. Jane plans to wed Rochester. In the wedding, someone denounces Rochester as having a mad wife chained up in the attic. Jane returns to her cousins. Jane goes to India. End of the book. It is described as a favorite of Brontë fans except for the unsatisfying conclusion.
So, cool, that’s covered.
But then Thursday Next, the heroine of The Eyre Affair, manages to get into the book to safeguard Jane from a criminal manic, everything goes as planned, except that Thursday takes it upon herself to whisper Rochester’s name through the shutters as Jane is preparing to leave for India. Jane changes her mind, she rushes back and finds a badly burned Rochester (his house and mad wife having gone up in flames during the climactic battle with the villain) and loves him. So, while Brontë literary professors were angered by this change, the fans liked it better this way. A cute twist.
So I was explaining this to my dinner companion when I was corrected. According to her (and confirmed independently), Jane does hear voices that tell her to return to Rochester. That’s the way the book actually ends – in our world.
So apparently, the author played a joke on us where in the world his novel took place in, Eyre does end unsatisfactorily. And Thursday’s intervention makes the book into a better one, the end where she stays, marries and is happy. But he never comes out and tells us that. Thus, people familiar with the story see the trick as it plays out – that we’re in an alternative world. But people who’ve never read it and are relying on the author to fill us in, it’s almost like an April Fool’s joke. And there I am, well-read, scholarly, leaned, discussing a novel with great authority that I know nothing about.
Oh man. Did I get played.