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I Am No Bird, And No Rock Star Ensnares Me

Jenny reviews Jane by April Lindner, a modern retelling done right of Jane Eyre.

I Am No Bird, And No Rock Star Ensnares Me

BOOK REPORT for Jane (a modern retelling of Jane Eyre) by April Lindner

Cover Story: Brown Bag It
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factors: Modern Retelling, Jane
Relationship Status: I'll Nurse This Book Back to Health After Its Tragedy.

Cover Story: Brown Bag It

My review copy of this book was fantastic -just a solid palest of blues with 'Jane' written on it in bright pink. I prefer that. Publishers, simpler is better, when will you get that into your crazy-ass heads? The cover they picked is a little bit too emo-y, and my first thought was "Why is Bianca Ingram on the cover of Jane?"

The Deal:

In this modern recount of Jane Eyre, Jane Moore has to drop out of Sarah Lawrence after her parents are killed in an accident and she is unable to pay tuition. Her horrible brother and sister could never be bothered with her when their folks were alive, much less now, so Jane becomes a nanny... to the child of a slightly has-been rock star, Nico Rathburn (who just happens to be about to have a huge comeback, of course!).

BFF Charm: Yay!

If my friendship could provide Jane with that extra glow that love brought her, then she would be rosy and glowing throughout the book. I love how honest, straightforward and completely guileless Jane is. Her early exchanges with Rathburn felt so awkwardly familiar to me that they were almost painful. But the thing I love most about Jane is that even though she believes herself to be nothing special, she doesn't whine about it. She truly believes that Rathburn couldn't be attracted to her, and yet... and it's that and yet that I love. Is Jane baffled by his attentions? Yes. Does she think she is alone in her developing feelings for him? Yes. But does she hope? Yes she does. She doesn't sit around saying 'if only I was prettier or more spectacular...', she just continues to live her life, and when love does announce itself to her, she grabs hold of it readily, and without trepidation. At least, not much.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

You guys! There's sex in this book! I mean, Rochester Rathburn IS a rock star, so OF COURSE there's sex in it, but STILL! I'm just sayin' you might want to have burn cream handy when you read this, 'cause business gets HOT!!! Are some aspects of the romantic pacing not quite believable in the translation from Brontë's work to this retelling? Sure. That's why the swoonworthy scale is an 8 and not a 9 or 10. But is it still super intense and passionate and OMG go back to the sex!!!!!

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Okay. I have a confession to make. I've never read Jane Eyre. I KNOW! But I have a good excuse! When I was 12-14, and reading the works of the Brontës and Austen, my mother forbade me to read it! She took issue with the whole 'wife' thing (I don't want to spoil it for others like me, but YOU know what I mean.) AND she told me it was boring. So when I snuck and read the first few pages, so overcome with guilt for going behind my mom's back, it was easy for Little Jenny to convince herself that it was, indeed, dull. Second confession? So I've also never seen any of the movie adaptations. UNTIL NOW. (But more on that later.)

Anyway, I recently did see an adaptation, and LOVED the story, and then got home and saw this book on my 'to be read' pile, and now OMG I LOVE JANE EYRE SO MUCH!!!! Lindner's adaptation manages to capture the feelings, the tone, the intensity of the original story, and successfully (at least mostly) place it in modern times, with a modern setting. Turning Rochester into a brilliant, cynical, ex-addict rock star with a temper? Genius. She somehow kept Jane's formalities and personality without making her seem out-dated in this new setting. How did you do that, April Lindner? Jane felt real to me, and I think that is a feat when you tackle retelling a classic.

I think this book is the perfect tool to interest YAs, or adults like me, who, for whatever bizarre reason, never read the original. I'm curious how long-time Jane Eyre lovers view this, though. Do you, like me, think the adaptation brings the heart of the original with it?

Bonus Factor: Modern Retelling

I should really clarify: Modern Retelling that doesn't suck. Much like this new movie, which you should all go see, Jane WORKS. And there aren't too many song lyrics to skip over.

Bonus Factor: Jane

Have I made it abundantly clear that I LOVE Jane? I feel about her in my 30's how I felt about Anne Shirley in my tweens.

Casting Call:

Okay, since I just saw this movie, I must confess I had a preconceived notion of what Jane and Rochester/Rathburn might look like:

Michael Fassbender as Nico Rathburn

Seriously, ever since I saw him utter the words "Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go out speaking the King's" I have been completely in crushland with Mr. Fassbender. And his portrayal of Rochester in the movie version? Yes please.

However, there were a couple of descriptions of Rathburn in this book, that caused another face to pop into my head. Sadly.

...he'd sounded educated, not like I'd imagined Nico Rathburn would sound. But now that he'd taken off that stockbroker's jacket, I could see the familiar serpent tattoo on his left forearm. He wore a silver hoop in each ear -- how had I missed that? --and what looked like a shark's tooth hung from a leather cord around his neck...

If there is any image that is less swoonworthy than silver hoops and sharks tooth necklaces on leather cords, I don't know it. However, if I just pretended I didn't read that bit, I didn't see this in my head:

A WORLD of no.

(I don't meant to insult any Tommy Lee fans. I just... no.)

So then I found myself trying to find someone else who could pull of Rathburn, and my mind went instantly here:

Lawyer Dave of The Brokeoffs as Nico Rathburn

Amen and amen.

Of course, Jane was easier. I've been a fan of Ms. Wasikowska since I saw her first In Treatment episode, and ladies and Brian, she does not disappoint.

Mia Wasikowska as Best. Jane. Ever.

Relationship Status: I'll Nurse This Book Back to Health After Its Tragedy

This book and I fell in love almost at first sight. It was a bit weird, see, because I had previously fallen in love with this book's, er, cousin, but whatever! The alcohol was flowing --as was the conversation-- and before I knew it we were professing eternal love for each other. I ignored some warning signs, like you do, and so this book and I were not prepared for the challenges our relationship encountered. But now I've found out that we fare far worse apart than we do together, so no matter what's happened to this book, I'm going back to it. To stay.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Little Brown and Company. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!).Jane is available now.

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.