Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Bronte Sisters, by Catherine Reef

How did a family produce not one, but three, stunningly talented writers?  And how would these talented women fit in to Victorian ideals of femininity?  We learn the family history of the Brontes, as well as the life experiences that so clearly colored the sisters' writings?  Known originally as Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell, the girls would end up writing some of the most groundbreaking literary works of the times, and their stories would last throughout the ages.

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite pieces of classic literature.  There is something so universal to the story, aspects that resonate with modern readers despite the fact that it was written in a much different time and social climate.  So, given the chance to read more about the live of the author, and her sister, I jumped right on.  And typically, I love biographies, particularly of people I admire, but for me, this book just seemed flat.  I found very little in the book that would be engaging to the intended age group (ages 10 and up).  As an adult, with a vested interest in the subject matter, I was quite bored for the majority of the book, so I imagine many kids would be as well.  The facts of the Brontes lives were presented in a straightforward manner, but it was not until the book discussed the writings of the girls that I became the least bit interested.  The book is almost 200 pages, at the middle grades reading level, yet it took we an entire weekend to read, not because it was difficult, but because I just was not engaged at all by the writing.

Even as a child, I was a voracious reader.  I read any and every thing I could get my hands on.  I had a knowledge of classic literature, and while I was too young to read the works themselves, I adored film adaptations of many classic literary works, even before I was of school age.  So, as a child, this type of literary biography would have certainly appealed to me.  However, I was an unusual child, and kids today have so many other options in terms of reading, I am not sure that this book will appeal much to kids.  Certainly parents would encourage their children to read this, and it could be a great supplement to public school or homeschooling curriculum, but I do not see a child going out of their way to read this, as opposed to more engaging books.

I received a review copy as part of the Amazon Vine program.

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