Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Changes, Jane Eyre and old grudges

I've decided I like the updated version of Blogger because it's easy enough (mostly) to navigate that even just-barely-techno-savvy-enough-to-turn-on-the-computer people like me can figure out how to make it look like more than just the barest of bare bones blogs that I had before. And apparently it inspires loads of alliteration. But at any rate I like the way my blog looks now. Hooray!

I just finished reading The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde, which I very much enjoyed. I mean, how can you not like a book where the main character and narrator is named Thursday Next? Who is a literary detective, no less? Basically, an evil, evil man manages to get inside the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and kidnaps Jane. Thursday and Rochester have to work to make sure that nothing in the original narrative is changed. Even though I got extremely confused by the alternate version of history that is revealed bit by bit (in case you couldn't tell, it's in an alternate but similar reality where time travel is common, for one thing, and they keep mentioning little bits and pieces of what is history for them but it's not the same as ours. For instance, the fact that Wales is a separate republic and the border between Wales and England has been sealed off... stuff like that), I loved all the literary references, especially the continued debate about the true authorship of the works of William Shakespeare.

It reminded me, though, of the first time I read Jane Eyre, which was in 9th grade. I was reading it on my own, but at the same time it was an option on the book list for my English class and some of the people in class had read it for their quarterly project. This meant that one day I found myself in class listening to a girl named Rachael giving a book report on Jane Eyre while I still wasn't very far in.

Now, giving book reports should be like giving a movie review. Or the blurb on the back of the book jacket. Give just enough plot information to interest people and talk about a few relative points -- see the previous description of The Eyre Affair. You know the basic idea but not enough to ruin any enjoyment for you. Never, never, never give away plot spoilers. Ever. If you have a captive audience this is even more of a cardinal sin than usual. At least if it's a written review they can stop reading.

So it should be understandable that I still hold a grudge against Rachael (whom I have not seen in years and probably only remember her name because of this experience) for ruining Jane Eyre for me. I had no idea what the plot was when I started the book. So when I had to sit there and listen to her enumerate every single twist and turn, right up until the end, when I had only BARELY reached Blanche Ingram, well... words really don't express it.

In fact, it still makes me angry just thinking about it.

Must go gnash teeth....

And Rachael, if I see you, watch out!

1 comment:

Liz Muir said...

Ah! The Thursday Next series is one of my favorites. I think the sequels are definitely better than the first. I really love the second one--attempting to murder someone by coincidence is the best premise I've ever heard. :D

Plot spoilers have their own circle of hell. Enough said.