Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Villette Chapters 1- 11
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!