IMG_0380So, in order to take part in the Cornflower Book Group for April 2015 I committed myself to reading Jane Eyre, an undoubted classic by Charlotte Bronte which I had never read before. I had about 10 weeks to read it, and I dragged my feet dreadfully, partly for good reasons and partly because, as I admitted to myself earlier this weekend, I just didn’t want to.

So, it is officially abandoned after only 4 chapters.

I was very happy to make that decision but I started to wonder why this was, and I have come up with what appears to be a slightly uncomfortable truth – women’s writing from the 19th century *whispers* just doesn’t appeal.

Now I don’t mean all women – I’ve read and enjoyed the two other Bronte sisters, and I’ve read Charlotte Perkins Gilman and if we throw in children’s books then Louisa May Alcott and Susan Coolidge spring to mind as great favourites. And I don’t think it’s an aversion to pre-20th century works – I’ve read Dickens & Collins, Tolstoy & Trollope, amongst others. It’s just….

Well I’m not sure what it just is, but I have a confession to make; more than one actually:

  • I just wanted to slap Jane Eyre, and I have tried and failed to get very far with Villette or Shirley (sorry Charlotte, but you’re a bit of a prig)
  • I have tried really hard with Jane Austen, but the only one of her novels I came close to liking was Northanger Abbey, and I’ve only ever managed to finish Emma and Mansfield Park, and both were a bit of a struggle. I just don’t like Austen and I get puzzled by the adoration she receives
  • I abandoned both Ruth and Cranford very early on so that’s it for Mrs Gaskell
  • I have tried to read Middlemarch twice and failed both times, ditto The Mill on the Floss (sorry George Eliot); Middlemarch is the one I’m most disappointed with myself for not finishing

I’m not sure it evens things out, but I have never got on with Thomas Hardy either.

So, I’m going to admit that when it comes to the classics I have a bit of a blind spot, and I’ll just have to learn to live with the shame 🙂