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!READ KINDLE ⚖ Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel ♜ The Year Is In A Cold Parsonage On The Gloomy Yorkshire Moors, A Family Seems Cursed With Disaster A Mother And Two Children Dead A Father Sick, Without Fortune, And Hardened By The Loss Of His Two Most Beloved Family Members A Son Destroyed By Alcohol And Opiates And Three Strong, Intelligent Young Women, Reduced To Poverty And Spinsterhood, With Nothing To Save Them From Their Fate Nothing, That Is, Except Their Remarkable Literary TalentSo Unfolds The Story Of The Bront Sisters At Its Center Are Charlotte And The Writing Of Jane Eyre Delicately Unraveling The Connections Between One Of Fiction S Most Indelible Heroines And The Remarkable Woman Who Created Her, Sheila Kohler S Becoming Jane Eyre Will Appeal To Fans Of Historical Fiction And, Of Course, The Millions Of Readers Who Adore Jane Eyre So disappointing One of the reasons I love Jane Eyre is because it is so virtuous no erotic scenes between her and Mr Rochester whatsoever I think Charlotte Bronte would be ashamed of this book, angry even Though Sheila Kohler does seem to follow at least want to follow Bronte in great descriptive detail, a lot of this seems way too contrived for me.Seems like Kohler s idea was to spice up an old classic with eroticism to make it appealing to a wider audience What a disgrace As a result of this, I did not finish the book Read about 1 3. I didn t read Charlotte Bront s Jane Eyre until I was an adult, but I still reacted with all the whiny complaints of a 14 year old boy Unfortunately, I was teaching it to 14 year old boys at the time, so I had to feign a certain amount of enthusiasm But a funny thing happened on the way to education While John Knowles s A Separate Peace grew thinner and sillier to me every year, Jane Eyre blossomed into one of my favorites With the plot s smoldering melodrama, the heroine s boundless suffering Unjust Unjust and those outrageous villains, it s a captivating book, a chance to luxuriate in your own private fantasies of aggrieved victimhood.Adaptations of Bront s work haven t reached the fever pitch of Jane Austen knockoffs, but Jane Eyre got zombies in a 1943 Val Lewton horror movie, almost 70 years before the undead crawled into Pride and Prejudice, and a new film version sans zombies is underway, starring Mia Wasikowska with Michael Fassbender as the brooding Mr Rochester A fair number of talented writers have transformed Bront s most famous novel into exceptionally creative and memorable books of their own Daphne du Maurier s Rebecca 1938 generates almost as much devotion among certain circles as Jane Eyre itself Jean Rhys s Wide Sargasso Sea 1966 is one of the classics of 20th century feminist fiction Jasper Fforde s The Eyre Affair 2001 launched his fantastical career Heads up Fforde starts a new series next week And now we have this exquisite fictionalized biography of Bront called Becoming Jane Eyre If you know Jane Eyre and love it, don t deny yourself the pleasure of this intense little companion book South African born Sheila Kohler, who now teaches at Princeton, sinks deep into the details of Bront s life to re create the atmosphere of her tragic, cloistered family Parallels between Charlotte and her famous heroine are an irresistible subject of critical inquiry, and even if those parallels are sometimes drawn too baldly in Becoming Jane Eyre, Kohler s novel remains a stirring exploration of the passions and resentments that inspired this 19th century classic.The story begins in a silence so complete that you can hear Charlotte s pencil scratching on paper She s nursing her stern though needy father, who s recovering from eye surgery that has left him temporarily they hope blind The horror of her mother s long illness and death still hangs over this family, but there s a recent cause for sadness Charlotte s novel, The Professor, has just been rejected, and the poet Robert Southey has written her a condescending note Literature cannot and should not be the business of a woman s life In desperation for money, for recognition, for a way out of solitude, darkness, and despair Charlotte decides to try once She dares to take up her pencil and write for the first time in her own voice, Kohler says She will write out of rage, out of a deep sense of her own worth and of the injustice of the world s reception of her words She will write about something she knows well her passion The story begins in 1846 and runs until Charlotte s death nine years later, a remarkable period that saw her emerge from obscurity as the daughter of a Yorkshire clergyman to become one of the most celebrated writers of the day Kohler s method is highly impressionistic, concentrating expansively on some moments while brushing over whole years elsewhere The brief chapters sometimes concentrate on other characters, allowing Charlotte s perennially dying father who outlived them all to give his own anxious testimony, along with her sisters, Anne and Emily, and even a servant, who finds the dreary Bront family hardly worth the wage.But this story is always Charlotte s, and it s always quietly hypnotic We follow her memories of that deadly boarding school we know as Lowood We see her studying and then teaching in Brussels under the tutelage of a capricious but mesmerizing married man who stole Charlotte s heart and then cast it aside William Hurt, Timothy Dalton, Orson Welles And everywhere, we catch impassioned echoes of Jane Eyre Do you think, Charlotte screams at her choleric teacher, I don t feel what other people do, that I don t long for the same things as you Becoming Jane Eyre is motivated largely by Charlotte s desperate thirst for revenge She will vanquish all those arrogant fools, all those hateful asses, who have passed her by without a glance How they have humiliated her, again and again Let her employers get down on their fat knees and beg her pardon Generations of smart, capable, overlooked women and men have responded to that pent up anger, but Kohler also wants to give Bront a larger, noble purpose that makes her a forerunner of the feminist movement She would like to reach other women, large numbers of them She would like to entertain, to startle, to give voice to what they hold in secret in their hearts, to allow them to feel they are part of a larger community of sufferers She would like to show them all that a woman feels the boredom of a life confined to tedious domestic tasks Kohler shows another side of Charlotte s life, too, the complicated tensions of living in close quarters with talented writers Emily, Anne and Charlotte had made a pact to publish their works under a single pseudonym, Currer Bell, but the asymmetrical success of their books puts enormous pressure on that agreement And then, of course, there s the even larger problem of their precocious, shamelessly spoiled brother, who first absorbs all their father s hopes and then inspires all his despair Kohler depicts him as Heathcliff and the first Mrs Rochester spun together, a vampiric young man full of charm but driven by addictions that threaten to drag this remarkable family into the flames.And yet despite everything that befell the Bront s, Charlotte eventually attained some of the wealth and domestic happiness she imagined at the conclusion of Jane Eyre If only, Dear Reader, real life would stay frozen at that triumphal moment of The End Kohler moves us swiftly and poignantly past that, into the haunting silence that swept over this windblown house when the last of those talented siblings was finally laid to rest.http www.washingtonpost.com wp dyn My notes on this book have been gathering dust for about 3 months now, and looking over them, it really just boils down to wow, this was a terrible book Seemingly anachronistic details, bizarre masturbation scenes out of nowhere, proto Betty Friedan dialogue, unbelievable amounts of melodrama, confusing chronological jumps, characters who magically show up, important characters who die off screen with little fanfare, and character development that makes no sense Kohler beats you over the head with the parallels to Jane Eyre, so much so that it gets very annoying very fast Yes, we ve all read the novel why on earth is Kohler essentially retelling it here Why would you be reading this book if you haven t read Jane Eyre Telling not showing is how Kohler operates, and the book suffers as a result. I grabbed this one from the library because I am very curious about Charlotte Bronte and her sisters This book takes the reader into the time period when Charlotte was taking care of her father while he was recovering from his eye surgery Each of the Bronte children get a turn to shine in this little gem and I came to realize that the sisters hard a very hard life, especially when it came to their spoiled, drug addicted brother The first 50 pages or so were a bit slow for me and I almost shut the book for good But curiosity about Charlotte won out and I m glad that I finished it It wasn t the best book about Charlotte I ve read, that would be The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, but it was a solid read that did fill in some gaps for this reader. I picked this up in audiobook format on a whim Ordinarily, I don t enjoy fictionalized accounts of the lives of famous people, and this slight concoction proved to be no exception The bulk of the narrative consisted of imagined thoughts and conversations that for the most part fell heavily on the side of petty resentments within the Bront family, and superficial condescension on the part of those characters, marginal at best, who brushed fleetingly along the edge of the fold Long, tedious passages were given over to the supposed unfavorable attitudes towards various members of the Bront family by otherwise insignificant characters, and yet the deaths in short order of Branwell, Emily, and Anne rated barely a cursory line or two Likewise, the narrative treatment of the marriage, pregnancy, and death of Charlotte herself was mystifyingly brief and shallow This indicates to me not only a lack of skill but also an outright laziness on the part of the author, and does an injustice to the Bront legacy Adding to my disappointment, I found the audiobook narration to be abominable, giving Charlotte the limited and annoying vocal range of a six year old, and turning Emily into a cultured and well spoken English version of Calamity Jane Lovers of Charlotte Bront s timeless classic and those with a stronger interest in her family history may be willing to offer a generous assessment to this feather light, yet contrarily depressing effort For me, it was mostly just a waste of time. A Slow Start But A Strong Finish The adjectives I had written down as I was reading this were not very flattering, in fact they were not flattering at all This novel, about the Brontes, seemed to have little new or interesting information to add to what little I already knew about this famous family At first I found it somewhat dull, it seemed little than a rehash of a Bronte biography, but something happened between page 146 and 195 and by the last page I found that I really liked it I liked the way Sheila Kohler pieced together key elements from the Bronte sisters lives and the way they manifested themselves into their writings I ve read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and had very different opinions of the two books, I loved Jane Eyre and really disliked Wuthering Heights But I think I might have had a different perception of Wuthering Heights if I had read this book first I recently read Daphne by Justine Picardie Which was predominately about Daphne Du Maurier but also has a strong flavor of Bronte as it s set during the period she was writing her biography of Branwell Bronte After finishing Daphne I began reading The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte by Daphne Du Maurier so some of the family s history was known to me I wouldn t recommend this to someone who s not at all familiar with the Brontes I m not a huge Bronte fan but I ve had Villet by Charlotte Bronte on my to be read pile for a while After finishing this I m looking forward to reading it sooner rather than later I think this would be good to read immediately after Jane Eyre and I think it would make a good book club selection Certainly Bronte fans will enjoy this. By adhering to biographical accounts of Charlotte Bronte s life, Sheila Kohler imagines not only Charlotte Bronte s emotional response to these true events but also the response of those in her immediate circle and from their individual perspective, so a credible, multi layer picture emerges There was only one scene that jarred and that was when Emily and Jane s manuscripts were accepted by Newby s, the publishers Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey respectively whilst Charlotte s, The Professor , was rejected The sisters are shown bickering over the news and Charlotte left sitting in silent disapproval expecting her siblings to turn down the offer Whilst I think it s true that Charlotte would have been overwhelmingly disappointed to have been rejected in those circumstances, I imagine she would very quickly have put her feelings to one side and steered his sisters in the direction of accepting when they might otherwise have demurred Having supported each other not only in their writings but in the trials of their adult lives, I think this would be likely That s just my opinion though and not necessarily the right one It didn t spoil the book for me in any way, in fact it was a good sign because it shows it really made me think about it I am very interested in the Brontes and I liked the way the author highlighted how their important life events emerged in their writings The narratives move backwards and forwards in time, and I wonder if that might occasionally be confusing for anyone not au fait with events at Haworth Parsonage but I m sure most people know most of it anyway The fact they do, is demonstrative of the sisters importance to literature generally All in all, this book is a very enjoyable and informative read and it s made me want to read the novels again. Anything that has to do with the Brontes pretty much ensures I will pick it up and read it And this was not disappointing It was a very intimate, yet strangely distant account of the Bronte family Mostly, Charlotte of course but also quite a bit about Anne and Emily.And while it is fiction, you can imagine how true some of the issues addressed are Like how Charlotte must have felt inscure and jealous when her two sisters books Agnes Grey and Wuthering Heights were accepted for publishing while her own first attempt The Professor was rejected And then again, how jealous and slighted Anne and Emily felt when Charlotte s Jane Eyre met with great success and, in turn, set great critisizm onto their own works For any Bronte fans, this is a great read You get insight into the stories behind well the stories how Mr Rochester is blind like the Bronte father, how Charlotte fell in love with a reserved professor and how their drunken brother became inspiration for both The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights etc You don t necessarily feel very close to any of the characters even with how intimate the accounts are, but you feel you know them and their motives and, in course, their writing much better. More of a character sketch than a story, really Almost devoid of plot, in fact Kohler s interpretation of Charlotte Bronte s life as she imagines and writes her classic, Jane Eyre, feels contemplative and genuine The pacing is somewhat slow, but little jewels here and there ring with whispered truth rather than dramatic impact I enjoyed the glimpses at Bronte s life and that of her sisters their struggles with employment particularly as governesses , the heartbreaking story of caring for their addict brother, frequent disappointments in love and publishing and how they translated their lives to their craft In the novel as in their individual writings , Emily actually grabbed me much forcefully than her protagonist sister Overall, this book is worthwhile, but will only receive a 5 star rating from those who are obsessed with either literature writing in general or Jane Eyre and the Bronte sisters in particular.FAVORITE QUOTES He drinks the warmth of his daughter s breath as she leans over him, brushes lightly against his chest, straightens his sheets and blanket He would like to say Lie down beside me Warm me with your youth Warm my dry, old flesh and bones But writing cannot be regulated It is like the cry of the wind or some sort of electricity the Master He shines in the family firmament, whereas she glimmers palely, almost invisible, a moon shadow beside him The moon to his sun, she shines only with his reflected light Charlotte of her brother Perhaps the best loved always suffers most Read this, It s good news, she manages to say, feeling herself grow old Charlotte upon opening the letter that her sisters have been accepted and she rejected FAVORITE SECTION on naming Jane Eyre It comes to her out of thin air She is not sure if she has heard such a name Was there someone she knew with that name Does it come from the family arms she once saw in a church, or the river she knows well, the beautiful valley of the Ayre Or is it a name that comes from air, perhaps, or fire Fire and ire will be in the book rage at the world as it is Unfair Unfair Ire and eyer she is the one who now sees in her father s place She has become the voyeur, the observer Plain Jane, Emily Jane, her beloved second sister s name, Jane, so close to Joan, brave Joan of Arc, Jane so close to Janet, Jeanette, little Jane A name that conjures up duty and dullness, childhood and obedience, but also spirit and liberty, a sprite s name, a fairy s name, half spirit, half flesh, light in darkness, truth and hypocrisy, the name of one who sees Jane Eyre.