Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Villette Chapters 1- 11

Hi, I'm supposed to post about the chapters we've read for the week every Thursday during this read-along, but I didn't get a chance to last week, so I'm making it up this week. Today's post will be about chapters 1-11.  Here goes:

I like this book. I didn't think I would, because I'm not a huge fan of the classics.  And also, because I didn't care much for Jane Eyre.  In fact, I preferred and loved, Jean Rhy's prequel of Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea - a clever and brilliant book which really captures the essence of Rochester and "Bertha".  Anyhow, it turns out I'm liking this classic.  Hurrah for me! I say this, because I'm trying to read more books outside my comfort zone and this one fits the bill. But I digress.

Let's see, so far, I've read about Paulina (Polly) - who was an annoying little girl left behind to stay with Lucy and her godmother, Mrs. Bretton.  At first I wasn't sure where the story was going since Lucy was more behind the scenes then a part of the story - it was all about Polly and her relationship with John Grahame (Mrs. Bretton's son).  Don't get me wrong, it was good reading, but we hardly learned anything about our narrator, Lucy Snow.  That is until Polly left and then we found Lucy looking for work and winding up being employed by Miss Marchmont.  A woman who was generous with her money and who promised Lucy that she would leave her behind with money so that she would be taken care of.  This of course gets promised right before she dies, and so with no time to change her will, Miss Marchmont leaves Lucy nothing.   Penniless and with no place to live, Lucy heads for London.  She belives that in London she will find some work.  I thought this to be brave of her, considering she had no clue as what to expect in a city she was not acquainted with.  Once in London she hops on a ship and finds herself heading towards France.  On this boat she befriends Miss Fanshawe, a young girl on her way to boarding school in Villette.  And just like that, Lucy decides to head to Villette and look for work.  Soon enough she finds herself working for Madame Beck (the woman from the school that Fanshawe mentioned).  One minute she is taking care of some children and the next thing we know Lucy is standing in from of a classroom teaching English.  It seems as if Villette is inspriring Lucy to blossom in so many ways.  Of course, this must mean that romance is on the horizon and lo and behold enter the doctor.  Hmmm. I wonder what will happen next - wink, wink. 
This book is getting good. At first I thought it was a bit slow in pace and slightly odd to have a narrator, who I imagined to be integral to the story, be so distanced from the action.  Of course, upon reflection, I find that I like that Lucy was not thrown in right away - it was a good introduction to a character that takes awhile to open up.  She seems more comfortable describing the scene around her than participating in it.  Of course, now that she is in Villette, that is all changing.  We are getting to know an adventurous Lucy - or at least that is how I see her.  Plus, now I'm enjoying the writing - it slowly unfolds- which is the perfect pace for this story (I see that now).  And if I'm honest, I was a bit surprised to find out that Villette was not the name of the main character  - yes, I admit that I thought Villette was going to be a person, not a city.  Oh well, I've gotten over my initial surprise and now I'm in deep.  This book is just getting better and better.

I'm glad Wallace at Unputdownables decided to arrange this shared read - its definitely turning out to be a fun and interesting experience.  Join in on the fun, if you fancy reading about Lucy Snowe and her life in Villette.  Or if you've already read the book, leave me a comment and let me know if Lucy does find her happy in this book. Well, I'm off to read some more Villette and will be posting about the next few chapters next week. Cheers!


Wallace said...

So glad you're liking it! I hear it's very different from Jane Eyre, though I've never read the latter. You'll have to be the judge of that.

Did you realize that the narrator is Lucy? Just farther down the road when she is old and gray. She mentions it briefly (very briefly.. as in only one sentence in one of the beginning chapters). The book is a bit of a flashback/memory story.

Erin said...

I was a fan of Jane Eyre, but I have to say I think I'm enjoying Lucy Snow a lot more. She's not as meek and she's got some gumption that impresses me. I can't wait to see where the story takes her!

Nadia said...

Wallace, I had no idea that Lucy is telling her story when she is old and gray - that is so neat! I love knowing that now, because that explains her distance from the action at times.

Erin, yes, she does have gumption! Love that word! Glad that we're both participating in Wallace's read-along - its fun to read what everyone thinks about Lucy.

Bellezza said...

I, too, like Lucy even though (or because of?) she is quite removed from what she describes. One senses a deeper emotional undercurrent, but she never comes out and admits it. We get her feelings through descriptions of the weather, or her crying, or her doing something, but not saying, "Jeepers, I'm sad today." Or, whatever a woman in her day would have said. I love classics, and I love this. I'm glad to know that The Wide Sargasso Sea, a book I've long been meaning to read, is what you called a prequel to Jane Eyre. Fascinating!

mindy said...

I'm really enjoying reading all these different reviews, particularly seeing how everyone views Lucy. It is almost as if Bronte is letting us create our own character because so much has to be determined through inference. When I was reading, I didn't really see her as adventurous. Now that you mention it, though, I can.

Lisa said...

When I started this one, I thought it sounded really familiar. But I COULD NOT remember reading it so I was sure I had seen it in a movie version. It was not until Chapter 6 that I finally realized I had, indeed, read it. I'm enjoying it but I can't help but feel that I must not have loved it or I would remember it!

Nadia said...

Bellezza, you have to read Wide Sargasso Sea - it is excellent! Its the reason I don't care much for Jane Eyre. And I love that Bronte uses descriptions to reveal to us how Lucy is really feeling. Clever!

Mindy, you are so right! Bronte is letting us put together the character of Lucy and I'm enjoying that!

Lisa, that is too funny! I've done the same thing, forget that I'd read the book and then dive into and realize, wait a minute, I've already read this before. I guess maybe the book didn't make an impression the first time, eh? LOL!

Wallace said...

P.S. Don't forget to link up at my post. I put you down for this week because I already read your blog -- but to help me out do you mind putting your link in the comments section so I don't forget to mark you down? I'm pulling people off the list who don't link up two weeks in a row (just to keep the list clean so there aren't so many people to wade through for all the read-a-longers while looking for Villette updates) and don't want to pull you off by accident in case I forget to mark you while reading your blog separately. (Does that make any sense at all)?

Brenda said...

I liked this one when I read, and I liked Anne Bronte's book as well.

I tried to read the Wide Sargasso Sea, but couldn't get into it, but I did see the movie.