Comics and poetry are my mental palate-cleanser when I finish a book late at night and don't want to start anything too taxing before sleep. So I finished The Gene last night at nine, and then turned to Manga Classics: Jane Eyre for my reading-time sorbet. I've read the real Jane Eyre, way way back in high school. At the time, I swooned. Now, maybe a bit more world-weary, I recognize that there's a lot of worrisome bits in Jane Eyre: if a friend were to tell me that her new boyfriend was already married and kept his wife locked in the attic but really really loves her (the friend, not the wife), I would be like Uuuuhhhhh. Even ignoring the more prurient bits, let's not forget Rochester's behaviour, like pretending to be in love with someone else to make Jane jealous and fall in love with him, which is not really romantic as much as creepily manipulative. And what exactly is the allure of Rochester? He seems like a mercurial jerk, always bossing Jane about and alternating being friendly with being cold. That and having read Wide Sargasso Sea within the last year has erased any memories of earlier Jane Eyre swooning; likely if Geoff locked me in the attic and then went off to marry a governess, I'd try to burn his house down too. Through a post-modern, feminist lens, Jane Eyre, manga or not, has a lot of problematic bits.
But Manga Classics: Jane Eyre does have this: some of the panels are drawn chibi style and they are sooooooooooo cute. It seems all aspects of my feminist-self can be co-opted by chibi drawings. And then I start to swoon.
No, I tell myself. Don't do it. Rochester is a dick. Manipulative, lying, and way too tall.
Chibis cannot make up for the warning signs of an abusive partner.
I am not going to throw away my principles because of awwww they are so cute so so so so so so cute.
Basically, this is Jane Eyre with a few panels drawn as chibis and my mind ceases to function because chibis and I fail at feminist literary criticism.
Manga Classics: Jane Eyre went on sale November 15, 2016.
I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.