​Reader, I married him, (edited by Tracy Chevalier) book review

I’ve just read this in one sitting, on the plane over the middle East, instead of sleeping (who needs sleep). This is, as mentionned earlier in my haul, a collection of short stories about Jane Eyre, and more specifically, about the famous phrase in the book that gives the title to this collection. 

I think this is going to resonnate with any one who has read and loved Jane Eyre. It might also be worth it if you don’t know anything about Jane Eyre, I think most of the stories would be worthy as stand alone short stories, though it is almost impossible to judge how I would have felt about it not knowing anything about Jane Eyre. Something I almost wished I could do: rediscover Jane Eyre as the first time I read it. Anyway, I suppose the point is moot because I would guess the majority of people reading buying this book are Jane Eyre fans. And for you, reader, as Charlotte Bronte would say, it’s a treat. 

Some of the stories are set within the Jane Eyre universe, but told with a different perspective (from Mr Rochester: Reader, she married me, from Grace Poole), some are twists on other moments of the story (Audrey Niffeneger’s is about the relationship between Jane and her friend at the Orphanage, for example), other are retellings set at different times, different settings, or broader reflections on mariage, gender roles, and the power of the sentence, “reader, I married him”. Now, I just want to reread Jane Eyre at the light of all those new leads given by this book. I think the power of Jane Eyre always was the multitude of possible ways it fives to supposition, to interpretation: do we see a protofeminist in Jane, who decides to tell her own story, what do we see in Bertha, in Mr Rochester. And this book gives us many other openings, not definitive ones, but templates for the imagination and the rediscovery of the classic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll happily return to Jane!


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