Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dear Charlie:

I just read Jane Eyre in three days. And worked 9 or 10 hours each day. Whew.

I simply couldn't help myself. See, I watched the latest BBC version that aired on Masterpiece Theater at my beloved sister's house last weekend -- ya know, before and after the ProBowl. Oh, for the last football game of the season.

*sheds a tear*

Anyway. So we watched Jane Eyre and marvelled at its depth and charm. We marvelled at its subtleties. We marvelled at Mr. Rochester and his period costumes. Heh, and we marvelled that such clothing ever went out of style!

But it was an excellent retelling, and -- as I had when I watched Pride & Prejudice recently -- I had to go back and read the book. Now, P&P I had close at hand. But the more I considered, the more I realized that I had never read Jane Eyre.

And I claim to own a bachelor's degree in English! For shame!

Thus, I had to find JE before I could read it. So I called around the used book stores I haunt -- yes, I love my books, but I love them better when I can afford them! -- until I happened upon a mint-condition three-novel collection dubbed The Brontë Sisters. It includes Wuthering Heights, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and of course Jane Eyre. Leatherbound. Gold-leaf. Pristine condition.

And for $10. Woot! God, I love books!

It's a pleasure to simply turn this one's pages. It's not so very old -- the copyright date is 1982 -- and not so very enticing -- I really only wanted it for JE -- but it has weight. It has pages. It smells like a library. Turning the pages and absorbing the words as fast as I could to keep those characters flowing in my mind was...oh, there are no words. I simply love it.

Is it stupid to love a book? Especially one of which you've only devoured a third?

Now, don't think too much of me one way or the other. I felt much the same way when I finally came across a hardback copy of Stephen King's IT. Seriously. I read it with just as much joy, just as much burgeoning nostalgia. I savored each page and ran my fingers just as lovingly across the lettering on the cover. It's not so much this book that moves me as any well-loved book.

Anyway, the DVD that I cannot wait to snap up -- and damn if it doesn't begin with a J, which will require much reordering of the shelves I just arranged -- won't be available until Feb. 20, which chafes me all out of mind. Luckily, that's also the day I'm scheduled to get my federal tax return, so I can buy a copy both for me and for my beloved sis, who only has the movie now on DVR -- the space of which is always at a premium.

So, I can't wait. But I will, because I at least have the book. I can flip here and there and compare. The BBC did such an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. The actors very nearly channelled Charlotte Brontë's Jane and Mr. Rochester. The story took a life of its own while staying very true to the source material.

Can any more be said of a movie made from a book? When so many fall so egregiously short?

7 Comments:

At 10:26 AM, Anonymous nut said...

Hey, Gutterball!

You know what, my whole 6th grade class stormed out of school just to see the movie (years ago, foreign country, so it was a rare occurrence). I dunno why we never got caught, or where my teacher and school guards were, at the time. Probably cutting too.

I tried to read it, when I came to US, but it was tough at the time. Wonder if I'll ever get to read it. Cause now I'm just too lazy to return books to the library on time...

Okay, sorry for butting in again.

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

I tell you, it's a damn good story. I never realized it before, but once I got into it, I just couldn't get back out. Even the dense tone didn't slow me down. Amazing.

And feel free to butt in any time, Nut. Crazy people are always welcome here. They make me feel more at home.

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Wonderwood said...

Hiya Heebie GB! I don't remember if I've ever read Jane Eyre, and I'm sure I haven't seen the movie, but I'm a guy, so not sure it's my kind of book. I wanted to stop by and say hello, and thanks for visiting my little place on the web and offering such insightful and supportive comments :-) And by the way, I share your pain about football season being over. I'm already looking forward to next year, and hopefully my Dawgs can whip the hated Gators this year. I live amongst the damn reptiles, but thankfully there is a large contingent of Bulldawg fans here in Jax. This is our year! Go Dawgs!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

*facepalm* There goes the nickname! Why, oh WHY did I tell that story? Heheh....

And you'll be pleased to know, WW, that while I was in Jacksonville for a business trip a while back, I dropped some coin on your Gators and still wear the shirt to this day. Not a fan, per se, but hey. It's a darn cool shirt.

Heh, that "I'm a guy" comment is kinda funny. I'm not much for girlie stuff, usually -- hard to be mushy when you don't have a heart, ya know -- but I was an English major in college, so I admittedly fell in adoration with Jane Austin's type of "romance".

Hey, allow me ONE girlie thing, a'ight?

 
At 3:55 AM, Blogger Devgel Zo said...

Ah, Neechan...

Doing that book in Standard 8 (whatever grade one is in at the age of 16) was not much fun, so it did ruin it for me somewhat. Maybe I'll go back and read it another time.

In the meantime, I'm chewing my way through Grapes of Wrath. Pretty good book, though I've just started.

But reading is always a wonderful thing!

Big hugs
Tochan

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger Wonderwood said...

Nooooooooo! Not MY Gators! I just live amongst them, I'm a dadgum Bulldawg and proud of it! :-)

 
At 7:05 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

To-chan, I suggest you get the movie. It's the Masterpiece Theater version from 2006. Not only does it make it a bit easier to "get", but the actors do an EXCELLENT job. I love that movie. I've ordered it and can't WAIT for it to come in!

*feigns innocent* What? You don't like the Gators? And you a Floridian! Heheheheh....

By the bye, I hate the St. Louis Rams with a deep and abiding passion while adoring the Kansas City Chiefs with equal fervor. My loyalty to my state only extends to teams that don't suck! Ha!

 

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