I’ve been having a hard time reviewing this book. I liked it and there were parts of it I loved, but I just can’t focus enough to write a lengthy, analytic review. Therefore, I will keep it short and sweet:
I definitely felt the autobiographical tone in great part of the book: lonely and guarded Lucy Snowe reminded me a lot of what I know about Charlotte. I empathized with her but sometimes I just couldn't understand her. She seemed like two different people: the one she showed to others and the one she showed us, the readers. And what was also interesting is that everyone had a different opinion about her. If the people surrounding her had sat and talked about Lucy’s character, they would have never agreed. This is very interesting because she didn't necessarily change her demeanor towards people depending on whom she was with, so it is kind of difficult to pin point what exactly caused this.
She had some really sharp comments about Catholicism. Being raised a Catholic, I really understood (and agreed with) what she meant:
“There, as elsewhere, the Church strove to bring up her children robust in body, feeble in soul, fat, ruddy, hale, joyous, ignorant, unthinking, unquestioning.” Ouch!
I could see the effect that Catholicism had on Charlotte during her time in Belgium. Generally, when I come across with people that don’t agree with or have fallen away from Catholicism, they take a more atheist point of view. But Lucy (and therefore Charlotte) is a devout Christian, so it was very satisfying to read her impressions, her insights. I identified with her thoughts and opinions because my point of view regarding this subject is very similar in some aspects. I also admired Lucy’s ability to be so tolerant, even when she was the target of ignorant misconceptions because she was Protestant. She was very respectful of other people’s beliefs.
The story dragged a little bit at times, but it felt like drinking a nice cup of tea during a cold afternoon. It is definitely not as dramatic as Jane Eyre, but it has its special charm. I don’t know exactly how to describe it.
I wish I could write a more detailed review but my mind just keeps wandering away. I've also been having trouble reading. I guess this happens once in a while when things get stressful or our minds get tired and need to shut down for a little bit... I really need some chocolate cake or something.