Rating: A ghost bopping good time! My Plain Jane is filled with hilarious pop culture references, tongue and check commentary on the Victorian Era, and a fun reimagining of the writing of Jane Eyre. HIGHLY recommend reading via audiobook!
My Plain Jane
Author: Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, Brodi Ashton
Release Date: June 26, 2018
Synopsis: You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)
Or does she?
Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.
First thing first, the first time I tried to read this book I DNFed it. There was something about the humor that did NOT translate well from the page for me. I made it about halfway through when I finally made the decision to not keep forcing myself to read a book I wasn’t enjoying. It’s not that it was bad, it just didn’t work for me. When my friend Amy (aka @theanimagusblack) suggested we buddy read My Plain Jane, I decided to give it another try, this time via audiobook as had been recommended to me. It was a whole new reading experience.
Fiona Hardingham, the narrator, brings the dry humor and depth of emotion to life in a way that reading it straight from the page never could. The range of her voices is ridiculous, and I am finding myself wanting to listen to every book she has ever narrated. Her cadence kept me involved in the story and brought more than a few chuckles to surface.
As for the story, I must tip my hat to the three authors for weaving such an amusing story that is stuffed full of wit, social commentary, pop culture references, and genuine emotion. It was hard for me to decide on a star rating for this book because as mentioned, when I tried to physically read this book, none of the humor or emotion hit home for me. This really is an example where the written word is better absorbed through audio. I can’t say that the writing is bad, because my enjoyment of the story clearly disproves that, but I’m finding that I don’t enjoy reading satirical books. For me, they must be listened to.
While I have read Jane Eyre in the past (back in high school, so very long ago), I’m sure there were nuances of the story that were lost on me because I don’t remember the source material very well. But I don’t think it’s necessary to have read Jane Eyre previously. All the characters are well realized, and the pace flowed nicely. There are numerous POVs but all the voices are distinct enough that I never got lost. There is plenty of mystery, romance, and ghostly conspiracies to keep any reader intrigued.
I am immensely glad that I gave My Plain Jane another shot. This book was a fun and slightly fluffy read that I find I desperately needed at the time (I was reading 4 dark books at the same as MPJ). As previously mentioned, I highly recommend reading this book via audio, but you should read this one in any form if satire is your thing.