Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" Classic a Month #10.2014

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
2 out of 5 stars

This was another disappointing read for my classic horror month. I think I am just too familiar with these stories (Jekyll & Hyde, Frankenstein, Poe) from pop culture references. They don't surprise and shock me like they are supposed to. The biggest plus to this read was that it was a short story, only 92 pages on my Kindle. If you've never read it and don't know the story at all, then by all means, read it and you will probably enjoy it. Also, stop reading this review now, because there will be tons of spoilers. :)

The basic story, that man is not truly one, but truly two, is told thru different narratives and is more of a dry science report than a story of good and evil. Dr Jekyll is the "mad scientist" who tries to come up with a solution to his impatient gaiety of disposition. Basically, he wants to be able to do bad things and get away with it. He creates a formula that transforms himself into a hideous, pure evil creature, Mr Hyde. As Hyde, he goes and does as he pleases and as Jekyll, he is still the good, respectable doctor.

If each...could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.

Jekyll's friends, Utterson and Lanyon, have a few confrontations with the abominable Hyde and begin to question his relationship with Jekyll. They fear that their friend is being blackmailed for something, as Jekyll has made over his will to leave everything to Hyde. (In case he disappears.) Utterson, being Jekyll's lawyer, obviously seriously questions this but gets no answers from the doctor.

Time goes on and Hyde kills a man and goes into hiding. Jekyll strives to keep the evil under check and go about his normal life, but he soon begins to slip. "I was slowly losing hold of my original and better self, and becoming slowly incorporated with my second and worse." After Lanyon dies and leaves Utterson a strange account of his last visit with Jekyll and an even stranger account of meeting Hyde, Utterson determines to go to Jekyll's home and figure things out once and for all.

Utterson arrives at Jekyll's laboratory and only finds the twisted body of Mr Hyde and a thick letter addressed to him in Jekyll's handwriting. Jekyll gives the full account of all that has transpired and how he finally succumbed to Hyde. "My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring." Jekyll refuses to let Hyde carry on living though and kills himself/themselves. (Would that be a murder/suicide?)
(This is the best thing ever and 
you will have it in your head for days!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: "Bury Me Deep"

Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike
2.5 out of 5 stars

It's that time of year when all I want to read is spooky books that give me the shivers, so who better than the master of teen murder himself, Christopher Pike?? Bury Me Deep was the first book I picked up from my stack and it was just kind of an okay read. Not as great as Master of Murder (but what is?) or Die Softly (which I realized I haven't reread yet!), but not as horrible as Monster. It pains me to write this, mostly because I skinned my elbow and can't lean on the desk, but main character Jean is boring and should have died. Spoiler: she doesn't lol.

Jean is a healthy, all-American, 18 year old girl on her way to Hawaii for spring break. Her 2 BFF's, Mandy and Michele (called Jill on the back cover, oops typo!), arrived 2 days before her due to a snafu with her evil science teacher and so she is flying out by herself. She's super excited to go and maybe lose her pesky virginity to a hot young surfer. On the plane, she meets a young hillbilly named Mike who won a trip to Hawaii and is oddly melancholy about it. They have a brief conversation about the trip and some dark cave that Mike has heard about and then he tells Jean "You're sitting in my seat". Then all of a sudden he has a seizure or something and he dies, right there on the plane. Yeah. Creepy side note: Pike dedicated this book to his nephew...Mike. Gee, thanks Uncle Chris lol.

Jean is obviously freaked out about it all but tries to put it out of her mind as she arrives in Hawaii. Her friend, Mandy, meets her at the airport with a lei and an "Aloha". "What does Aloha mean, anyway?" "Hello, goodbye, let's have sex." Mandy is a ditzy, fluffy girl (135 lbs is "fluffy" in Pike-verse) with a heart of gold who also wants to get laid. Specifically with the scuba instructor she met the day before, Johnny. And she doesn't want Jean interfering or taking Johnny for herself. Not that Jean would ever do that. Except of course, that's exactly what she does, unintentionally, as soon as she meets Johnny. Mandy kind of goes into the background after that, being the rejected fluffy girl. And don't worry about Michele, she's too busy actually doing what the other girls just wanted to do...

So the majority of this book is about scuba diving and honestly, it's boring and too much info. There's a whole chapter about the girls learning to dive in the hotel swimming pool. I could probably go dive right now with just this book as my learner's manual. Hot Johnny and Michele's guy Dave take them all out and despite her initial reservations, Jean thinks diving is totally rad after they finally get in the ocean and wants to do it every day. Dave and Johnny used to have a 3rd partner, Ringo, who I'm sure would have gone for Mandy but he like died mysteriously or something. Nothing to worry about though, I'm sure.

After the dive, Jean goes back to the hotel to rest and suddenly starts having weird prophetic dreams. She dreams of a bathtub full of blood and this is truly nasty: She wanted to turn the water off. Jean reached out for the faucet and turned it. But suddenly a gust of red steam rose up from the bloody tub. It hit her in the face. It smelled of death, of morbid decay, and it made her feel faint. Gross. When she wakes up, the tub is full of...ketchup. Okay, her dreams aren't totally spot on yet. Later, Jean goes out with Johnny and he tells her about Ringo, who died diving for sunken treasure, and then they almost have a make-out sesh on the beach but get interrupted by Johnny's beeper. I almost got in trouble in senior year English because my mom kept paging me once. My classmate covered for me by coughing a lot til I could get it turned off. I think I still have the beeper somewhere too. It's like a relic in a museum now lol.

Johnny's mom is a drunk and a total buzzkill for their date, so they decide to meet up again the next day on Johnny & Dave's work boat. Before that though, she has another dream, about a dark, underwater cave. She runs into Dead Mike and he shows her a skull buried deep in the cave, that has a suspicious hole in it. Then he does this neat trick with a white, heart-shaped balloon that explodes in her face and wakes her up, where she's hanging over the balcony about to die. Dave saves her and thinks she's some crazy chick with a death wish. Which she kind of is.

When they go out on the boat the next day, Jean talks Johnny into taking her to this island that she just HAS TO GO TO, because of her dream. Mandy tags along and after about 5 minutes of diving, freaks out and Johnny has to take her back up to the surface. Jean is supposed to follow but instead goes even deeper and OMG finds a cave just like in her dream. And shocker, there's a skull there. No one believes her of course, so she starts researching. That's what I would do on my fabulous vacation in Hawaii. She finds out a bunch of crap, like that Mike actually died scuba diving and not on the plane like she thought. Turns out she's been having these dreams for a while now and never knew. She decides to go visit Mike's grave on the island (what??!) and a tree branch falls and knocks her on the head and she sees what really happened to Mike. He was diving and found the skull and "someone" (ie: either Dave or Johnny) decided to kill him to keep him quiet. They inflated his bouyancy thingy and he rocketed to the surface, his heart exploding on the way. Yick.

Jean wakes up and just knows it's Dave, so she rushes off to the hotel, but finds that something else has happened...Mandy is dead. She was either pushed or jumped off the balcony and went splat on the cement below. Mandy must have landed on top of her head. The crown of her skull was crushed flat. The delicate bones that made up her pleasant expression were shattered. There was blood everywhere. But it was still good old Mandy. Now Jean is convinced that Dave killed her friend too and tells Johnny the whole story, but he thinks she's crazy. She goes off on her own to try to get the skull out of the cave, to prove it to everyone.

While down there, Dave ("someone") attacks her, and tries to kill her the same way as good old Mike. Luckily, she keeps her cool and manages to get back to the surface safely. Once there, she just happens to run into Johnny, who went after her. He helps her back onto the boat, where Dave and Michele are conveniently knocked out, and Jean starts piecing a few things together that didn't make sense before. OMG it's Johnny!! Duh. Suddenly, Johnny is a homocidal maniac, killing Ringo over buried treasure and then Mike and finally Mandy. Jean jumps overboard and tries to swim away but Johnny comes after on a wave runner (jet ski) and tries to run her down. She does some fancy manuevering and eventually, he runs into a bank of coral and goes flying off the bike, breaking his neck. Bye, Johnny. Jean has one last dream about Mike, who is totally at peace now that his death has been figured out, and she heads home, still a virgin.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: "Northanger Abbey" Classic a Month #9.2014

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
3 out of 5 stars

I hate to say it, but this book was boring for me. I actually started it once and had to put it down for a week or two. I know this is a lot of people's favorite Austen book but it just wasn't for me. It's a very quiet story and despite the promising Goodreads summary, not a lot happens.

"Jane Austen's "Gothic parody". Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers..."

So that makes you expect an almost scary story with maybe some murder thrown in, right? Nope, sorry. You get a few misdirections and spine-shivering moments, but that's it. Catherine Morland is the "heroine" of this story, really just in her own mind though. She is a plain, average girl from a plain, average family, who of course wants her grand romantic gesture, just like any girl. At the age of seventeen, Catherine is lucky enough to have kind and thoughtful neighbors who invite her to the city of Bath for the summer. There, she is sure to meet her dashing hero and have her happily ever after.

The first half of the book centers on her stay in Bath and her first time in "society". She immediately befriends a young woman named Isabella who is exactly the type of girl that Catherine thinks she wants to be. Beautiful, popular, and a horrendous flirt. Isabella takes a liking to Catherine's brother, especially when she thinks he comes from money. She uses her feminine wiles to ensnare him along with his sister. Catherine, being a naive country girl, does not realize she is being used and spends most of the story defending her bosom friend. Until Isabella dumps Catherine's brother for someone better and richer. Cow. Add that to the fact that Isabella's brother likes Catherine and is horribly dull, and that whole family can just go away now please.

Catherine also meets a young man named Henry Tilney, who has the potential to be her dashing hero. He was one of the best parts of the story. His dry wit and quiet sarcasm were quite refreshing. Yes, quite. Mr Tilney also has a sister, Eleanor, who is very nice and quiet, the opposite of Isabella. This book could almost be a story of sibling relationships. It might have been more interesting.

The second half of the book takes Catherine to the Tilney's abbey home, where her imagination runs rampant, due to all the gothic romances she reads. Reading will always get you in trouble, am I right? ;) There is a strong prejudice against "fluffy" novels throughout the book: "real men" do not read such nonsense, women must be ashamed of it, etc... Henry adds another notch to his eligibility belt with this little passage with Catherine:

C: "But you never read novels, I dare say?"
H: "Why not?"
C: "Because they are not clever enough for you-gentlemen read better books."
H: "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."

Henry encourages Catherine's imaginings by telling her a mysterious story on the way to the abbey and of course she jumps to all kinds of conclusions, especially concerning his dead mother. Henry's dad is not the most pleasant person and Catherine just assumes he had a hand in his wife's untimely death. She is wrong of course and Henry corrects her very harshly. All is forgiven eventually and the two young people grow fond of each other and things look promising.

Then Henry's dad gets some mis-information from Isabella's spurned brother and basically kicks Catherine out of his home. She goes back home broken-hearted and unable to even speak to Henry before she leaves. Luckily, he finds out what happened and rushes off to see her and make things right. And Catherine gets her dashing hero and happily ever after. The End.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: "Power Play: Sweet Valley High #4"

Power Play: Sweet Valley High #4 by Francine Pascal
4 out of 5 stars

Before Reading:'s face-off time with the twins! I always think of them having long, straight hair but it's always kind of short and wavy on the covers. Weird. This is the uber fat-shaming one. I'm sure I'll have a LOT to say about this one!

The Main Plot in 50 Words or Less: Robin is infatuated with Jessica and the Pi Beta Alpha sisters. Jessica is disgusted with her fat rolls and does everything she can to keep her out of the sorority. Elizabeth helps Robin, but does more damage in the end.

The Second Plot in 20 Words or Less: Lila becomes the typical "rich girl wanting daddy's attention shoplifter". Elizabeth helps her out, too.

Opening Lines: Elizabeth Wakefield didn't know how messy things would get with Robin Wilson and the sorority pledging, until she was in too deep to back out.

Closing Lines: Jessica in love with an experienced college man meant storm clouds would be gathering soon. And all Elizabeth could do was hope that the inevitable winds would not shipwreck those close to her sister-including herself. (I don't even know what this means. Too much metaphoring.)

Best WTF Lines: Too many to type, so I made a handy graphic below. Enjoy. (I even color-coded it for you, see if you can figure out who said what!)

(Click to make bigger, sorry I had to split it up!)

Happenings in SV: Robin Wilson thinks Jessica is her best friend, but Jess is just using her to run her errands and stuff. Robin wants to join the Pi Beta Alpha sorority at SVH (why does a high school have a sorority, anyway??), Jessica is the president and "promised" Robin she would nominate her. Of course, she never does and Elizabeth ends up doing it instead. Jess is pissed and decides to haze Robin, making her run the track every day, wear a bikini to the beach, and ask Bruce Patman to the Discomarathon (dance of the week/book).

Elizabeth bribes Bruce into saying yes to Robin by giving him a glowing article in the "Eyes & Ears" column of the school paper. He agrees, but then totally humiliates Robin at the dance by dumping her at the dance floor in front of everyone. Robin is devastated and runs off, but ends up coming back with some geek called Allen Walters (never heard of him). Then Robin gets blackballed from the sorority (thanks to Jess) and she is heart-broken.

After the vote, she cuts everyone out of her life and stays home for a while, then starts working out and eating better. The book kind of makes it seem like it's been a few weeks, but I don't know about that. Robin starts to lose a lot of weight and even becomes pretty. Liz stops her one day and mentions it. Robin fixed her penetrating eyes on Elizabeth, "Liz, I may have been stupid about almost everything-the Pi Betas, Jessica, and maybe even you. But if you're asking me if I'm starving myself to death, I wouldn't give any of the PBAs the satisfaction." Yeah, right.

Robin eventually gets thin and pretty and tries out for the cheerleading squad and makes co-captain, with the furious Jessica. She also wins Miss Sweet Valley High, which is some kind of football queen (I don't even know) and snubs Bruce Patman for Allen.

Lila starts giving Jessica tons of expensive gifts and Liz finds it a little suspicious. When Liz is at the mall one day, she talks to a shop keeper who tells her that they've had some theft lately and Liz thinks it might be Jess. Later, she sees Lila at a shop, stealing a bracelet. Liz almost gets pinpointed for the theft, but runs off. (That's not suspicious at all.) Then, Lila calls Elizabeth up, panicking, because Jessica gets arrested for shoplifting! Lila finally fesses up and her daddy is called in and fixes everything. For some reason, Lila asks Liz for all this help and begs her not to tell Jessica anything about it.

Fashion Icons: You can see all the Robin tents up in the WTF-graphic, so I'll skip those.

Jessica was wearing leotards and exercising with Jane Fonda via video cassette.

Jessica was bouncing down the steps in an ice-blue string bikini, heading for the backyard pool. With her slim body, she'd never suffer the miseries poor Robin had gone through that day at the beach.

An oddly dressed young woman [Lila] was standing in Lisette's studying the counters. She was wearing a pair of bright green, skin-tight pants and a loose striped blouse that looked as though it could accommodate two people.

On Monday Robin showed up in designer jeans, a rainbow top, and a new hairstyle. Lip gloss and perfect eye makeup created an effect that almost caused Bruce Patman to walk into the gym door.

Comfortable overalls disappeared. Sneakers went into the closet. With carefully dressed hopefuls lounging around on the school lawn, leaning against the white oak trees, Sweet Valley High looked like a spread from a fashion magazine. [Doesn't it always, with its "no fatty" policy??]

Jordache jeans were challenged by Calvin Kleins. Miniskirts were seen next to tapered slacks. Makeup and new hairstyles turned the young women into Glamour models.

Twin Hijinks: Elizabeth is at home & answers the door to Robin, who knows she's not Jessica. Elizabeth asks her how she knows and Robin says, "I don't mean to offend you, Liz, really I don't, but I'm pretty sure Jessica's never dressed like that in her life." (Old jeans and a flannel shirt)

The salesclerk at Lizette's grabs Jess for shoplifting, thinking it's Liz. When they're together, the clerk thinks it's a gang lol.

Other Thoughts: This book was so amazingly horrendous, I just had to give it 4 stars. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me feel so awful about being a chubby bunny. :p I'm not sure what exactly the authors/ghost writers/editors/publishers were thinking with this one, but they missed the mark, big time. Not only does Robin get tortured nonstop for being a fatty, but when she finally does lose weight (very quickly and unhealthily), she immediately becomes Miss Popular.

Elizabeth calls Jessica "Jessie" throughout the book, which kept throwing me off. I don't think she does that in any other books. This book also had about 637 examples of Jess saying "thirty-seven" in it. (See what I did there?) Why was that number so important?

The Next Book*: Jessica with a college guy? Elizabeth fears her twin has gotten in over her head this time. Is she right? Find out in Sweet Valley High #5, ALL NIGHT LONG.

*(not necessarily what I'll be reading)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: "Pippi Longstocking" Classic a Month #8.2014

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
3 out of 5 stars

Pippi is one of those books/characters that is probably better off left behind in your childhood memories. Reading her as an adult was excruciating and a little bit sad. As a child, you hear about this amazing girl who lives on her own with her horse and monkey and gets to do whatever she wants, with no adults to ever tell her no. She has fantastical adventures, can go to bed whenever she wants, doesn't have to go to school, nothing bad ever happens to her, and everything is always wonderful in Pippi's world. (Even with her father, the infamous cannibal king, missing at sea.) Who wouldn't love this book, as a child? Who of us never dreamed of being Tommy and Annika, with Pippi as a neighbor? Getting to go on picnics and running into an angry bull, discovering secret clubhouses in hollowed out trees, playing "don't touch the floor" in the kitchen (okay, my sister and I actually did that one in the living room lol), watching Pippi fly thru the air at the circus and beat the strongest man ever. Overall, this is the perfect adventure book for children and it's evident why it's a classic.

However, reading it as an adult brings on a completely different tone. You begin to feel sorry for Pippi, being alone all the time. Many of the chapters are tinged with sadness, such as when she makes the burglars stay and play with her til 3 in the morning and then gives them a little gold for their trouble. Or when Pippi goes to Tommy & Annika's for a coffee party and their mother scolds her for not behaving.

Pippi looked at her in astonishment and her eyes slowly filled with tears. "That's just what I was afraid of," she said. "That I couldn't behave properly. It's no use to try; I'll never learn. I should have stayed on the ocean."

The child just wants to be loved. And honestly, she needs a little discipline. You know you're getting older when you want to just spank the child for behaving like that lol.

And then there was the question of her amazing strength and ability to wriggle out of any sticky situation. Why is she so strong? Genetics? Did Mr Nilsson bite her in a rabies-induced rage? Children don't question those kinds of things, but it just seems odd to an adult. I feel like if Pippi had either not had her super-human strength or got into a little more trouble occasionally, the story would have been more believable. She is never held accountable for her actions, she always manages to get out of a bad situation. That makes the story a little boring at times, honestly. And then there's the lying. Oh, the lying is awful. What parent would want to read this book to their child?? Luckily, children aren't quite so closed minded as adults and just see the story for what it is...a fantastical story about a fantastical little girl with red braids and a monkey on her shoulder.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My Favorite Children's Book #4: Madeline's Rescue

What was your favorite picture book as a child? What book did you return to, over and over again, until your parents were completely sick of it? Was it Madeline? Max & the Wild Things? Paddington? This feature shows off some of my favorite children's books, in no particular order, and I also want to hear what you think! So comment below. :)

Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

I asked my sister, A, what children's book I should do this week and she said Madeline, because "she has red hair like me". And then my mom mentioned a Madeline doll she wanted and it seemed like that was the book to do. Turns out I don't actually have the first Madeline book though! I really thought I did too, weird. This is the second book in the series, published in 1953 and a Caldecott winner in 1954. I always loved finding books with the Caldecott or Newbery seal on them as a kid, it made them seem so special. (Which I suppose they were or they wouldn't have won.)

I'm sure you know the original story of Madeline: "twelve little girls in two straight lines. The smallest one was Madeline." Madeline's Rescue can be taken two ways: the first in that she is rescued from the Seine river by a stray dog and the second in that Madeline herself rescues the dog from living on the streets. This book is super morbid for a children's book.

Poor Madeline would now be dead
But for a dog
that kept its head,
And dragged her safe from a watery grave.

Of course she is safe though and they take the dog home with them and name her Genevieve. All is well until the evil board of trustees arrive for their annual inspection and Lord Cucuface (really, that's his name) makes the dog leave. The girls scour the city, looking for her but she is gone. That evening, Genevieve shows back up at the home and the girls are ecstatic to see her. Even more so when she has puppies. (How and when did she have time for that?!) In the end, each of the twelve girls has her own puppy to walk in two straight lines and Genevieve has Madeline.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: "Jane Eyre" Classic a Month #7.2014

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2.5 out of 5 stars

I've decided that I am not a fan of the Bronte sisters and am definitely more of an Austenite. After the fiasco of Wuthering Heights, I should have known better, but I'd heard so many good things about Jane Eyre, that I decided to give it a shot. Looking back at WH now though, I'd be more likely to give it 1.5 stars. :/ I finished this last week and last weekend, I was super bored so I decided to give the Jane Eyre movie on Netflix a shot. It seems like they added a ton of classic movies/series on there recently. (Maybe because I've been searching for them lol.) I got about halfway thru the movie and will probably finish it this weekend, so I'll try to do a Book vs Movie next week for it.

So, Jane Eyre had some interesting parts in the beginning of the story and then around the middle and towards the ending, but everything else was booooring. They could have taken out 100 pages in between each interesting section and made the book half as long. Part of the problem was that there was a good amount of conversation taking place in French, with no translation. "To speak truth, sir, I don't understand you at all; I cannot keep up the conversation, because it has got out of my depth." Also, there was a strong religious theme, which is fine for some people, I just don't enjoy reading about it too much.

The first part of the book deals with young Jane Eyre, who is an orphan and living with her uncle's widow and her incorrigible children. She has a rough time, barely better than a servant, getting attacked by the eldest boy, completely misunderstand by her guardian. Finally, Mrs Reed has enough and sends Jane to a boarding school and away from the family forever. Jane is elated to be away from them, but unfortunately, the school is not much better. Worse, probably. Run by a religious tyrant, she barely gets fed, lives in near squalor but forced to maintain their high education standards, and has to watch her best friend die. (So sad) But Jane perseveres and eventually the school gets better and she becomes a teacher there. (Remember, back then, girls became teachers as young as 16 or 17.)

After a while and too many pages of introspection, Jane decides to leave the school and magically finds the perfect job in the paper. She travels to a far away place to become a governess for the Rochester household. When she gets there, she is welcomed heartily by Mrs Fairfax, the housekeeper (whom she confuses for the lady of the house) and her charge, the young French child, Adele. Jane begins a somewhat comfortable life there but is still a kind of restlessness. One day, she is taking some letters to town when she runs into a frightful man and his horse and giant dog. Literally. She frightens the horse and the man falls and sprains his ankle. Any guesses who that man is?

Yep, the not-so-dashing Mr Rochester. They make a great point throughout the book of how unattractive both Jane and Mr Rochester are. Which I suppose is rather refreshing to not have practically perfect people, but comes across as overly insistent. "No, no. I am quite ugly. Well, I am quite ugly too!" Psshh... Mr Rochester is an unfriendly, gruff man and of course, Jane falls for him immediately.

Jane to herself: He is not of your order: keep to your caste, and be too self-respecting to lavish the love of the whole heart, soul, and strength, where such a gift is not wanted and would be despised.

And then there is a very large amount of pages of them having witty banter, one-sided conversations of Mr Rochester saying lots of stuff, and how Jane feels about it all. I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me. Mr Rochester throws Jane off for a while by showing an intense interest in a young woman named Blanche, who is one of the "pretty people".  But it's all a (stupid) ruse because Rochester has fallen for Jane as well.

Rochester to Jane: "I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you-especially when you are near to me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame."

This review is so long already, y'all, and I haven't even gotten to the weird parts yet! Let's speed it up, okay? Rochester loves Jane, Jane loves Rochester, he asks her to marry him, she refuses because she's a lowly servant, he doesn't care, convinces her, Mrs Fairfax disapproves, there's a fire in Rochester's bedroom, someone is messing with Jane, Rochester tells her it's all cool, the wedding day comes, and welcome to Crazy Town, population 2: Mr Rochester and his FIRST WIFE THAT HE KEEPS LOCKED UP IN THE ATTIC. Yes, I had to do all CAPS on that, I'm sorry. This is so weird, it doesn't even feel like the same story. Rochester claims it's all perfectly innocent and acceptable, because the first wife is unhinged and mentally ill. And he still wants Jane to stay and be his mistress. Of course, Jane freaks and runs off.

Jane to Rochester: "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?-a machine without feelings? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!-I have as much soul as you-and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you."

She travels across the countryside for days and nights and ends up on the doorstep, starving and sick, of the Rivers siblings. Spoiler alert: she's related to them. She convalesces there for a month or so and thanks to St John, the eldest sibling, gets a job in the local town as a schoolteacher. And then there's more weird when he asks her to go on a missionary trip with him to the Middle his wife. She's come to think of him as a brother (she doesn't know she's related yet) and still loves Rochester, so she's like "uh, no. But I'll go as your sister." He refuses and says it's her duty and her mission, etc...She still refuses and around that time, gets a letter forwarded from the Rochester house about a distant uncle who died and left her a ton of money. Then it all comes out that she and the Rivers' are cousins, Jane is ecstatic to finally have family, and she splits the money with them.

Finally, Jane gets happy with her money, decides she is worthy of Rochester and still loves him and needs to see him again, so she takes the trip back to him. There, she finds the house burned to the ground and no one around. She learns from the locals that Rochester was badly injured trying to save his crazy wife but she died and now he is blind and missing a hand and living in the woods somewhere. She runs to him and vows never to leave him again and all that mushy stuff. He can't believe his ears at first, thinking her a spirit that he called to him, but he comes around and asks her to marry him again. She says yes, of course, and then spends the last chapter of the book talking about St John. More weird, right?  And that's it, thank you very much. Why do I always spend the most amount of time on the books I don't like that much? Strange.