I cannot live without books.-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Living Amid Tragedy: The Saga of Lucy Snowe

    You may be like me, I had never heard of this book until I happened to pick it up at a book sale at my local library.  Charlotte Bronte, of course, wrote the better-known classic Jane Eyre.  Her sister Emily wrote the other classic, Wuthering Heights.  I prefer the work of Jane Austen.  Her books seem to me to be happier and more hopeful.  The Brontes' work is more melancholy, depressing.  This book was no exception! 
   The heroine and narrator, Lucy Snowe, spends the majority of the book feeling inferior to others.  Everyone else seems to be more beautiful, more charming, more blessed by Fate.  In truth, Lucy lets opportunity pass her by.In that, it is a reminder to us all, not to let fear rule our lives, to take chances, even if we might get hurt.
   The book follows Lucy from the age of 14, when she visits her godmother and is introduced to various characters who will become important later on.  Ten years later, left orphaned and unemployed, she spontaneously sails to the small European town of Villette and takes a job as an English teacher at a thriving local school.  It follows her as she remains mostly an observer in others' lives.  She is on the morbid side, talking frequently about fate and death and making mythical and biblical allusions.  When she has a chance at happiness, she lets it pass her by, excusing her timidity by saying Fate had other things planned.
   I also did not appreciate the liberal French dialogue.  Maybe in 19th-century England everyone could read French; but nowadays, not so much!  My favorite part of the book was the ending.  It leaves you to draw your own conclusions (if you have seen the movie Inception, it is similar to that).  I choose to believe that Lucy finally finds love and happiness.  I'm curious to know if anyone besides me has read this book.  Leave your comment below.

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