My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There were so many things about this book that made me angry enough to spit nails! I can barely believe that my beloved Charlotte Bronte would write such stupid things.
The main character, William, analyzes the personality of everyone he comes into contact with, and he rips these people to shreds! Criticizing and never seeing anything good in anyone around him. Even if they have one good quality, he has to mention again and again how ugly they are or physically weak. What a nice guy!
He’s also really manipulative! He holds back a student’s paper, just to see their disappointed reaction when their paper isn’t graded, and they think they have failed his class. What a jerk! He says that he wants a chance to study their personality, and see how they will react, but people are not there to be studied and analyzed! People are there to be loved and cared for, to be shown compassion and understanding. He self-righteously claims to be a sensitive and kindly individual, and then he does horrid things like this!
He lords it over all the women characters, saying that whatever might be good in their personalities, is because his presence has brought it out. Apparently the sunshine of his presence makes them blossom into lovely ladies with good values and better minds. Oh, but if he should remove his glorious presence, they must all be forlorn and depraved without him there! Wha?!?! This guy! He’s so disgustingly condescending.
At least twice the author has ridiculed “old maids”, saying how they try to fill up their empty lives, but fail and die “weary and disappointed, despised and of no account, like all single women.” OMG!!! What the heck is this?!?!?!? ARGH!!!! So angry with this crap.
There is none of the spiritual liberty that I loved in Jane Eyre. There is no independent thought, no strong women, no character development or change. William stays just exactly the same through the entire book, a self-centered chauvinist self-righteous jerk-face pig of a man. And I’m supposed to be glad that he gets a happy ending?!? At least in Jane Eyre, when Mr. Rochester is a jerk, I know that he has character development, and changes his ways at the end.
The plot starts and stops in all the wrong places. In the beginning, William gets a job with his cold and malicious older brother, and then William moves on to other things, and the plot moves forward, but the brother is never revisited. He doesn’t come into the story at all after that. So what was the point of him being in the plot at all? The brother’s entire story was utterly unnecessary. The plot could have started AFTER the brother with nothing lost.
Then the plot goes on and on after it should have ended, detailing how this happy ending is playing out; how their housing arrangements are set up, and how the school is growing, and what the children are doing and saying, and how this one kid learns to read. OMG, the ending of this story was 40 pages ago, but the author didn’t know it. Yep. The plot starts and stops in all the wrong places.
I know it was published posthumously, and I’m sure Charlotte Bronte would have edited and corrected many of these problems, but oh man! This is so very problematic on so many levels.