It’s been a loooong time since I read Jane Eyre, which I suppose doesn’t put me in the best position to review April Lindner’s remake, Jane. Be that as it may, I’m gonna do it anyway.
The tag line for the novel is: What if Jane Eyre fell in love with a rock star? What if indeed. Here, after the deaths of her parents, Jane Moore is forced to drop out of Sarah Lawrence and support herself by working as a nanny to the daughter of Nico Rathburn, a mega rockstar on the verge of a big comeback. Anyone familiar with the original knows a lot of what comes next, and Lindner does an impressive job finding a way to stay very true to the original narrative, introducing characters and plot points where we would expect.
I suppose I could start by saying that reading this made me want to reread the original, which I think is a compliment to Lindner’s book. I think it would help me to appreciate more of what she accomplished in this remake. I was surprised how well the contemporary setting worked. The scenario didn’t seem forced, mostly. (Except perhaps Nico’s devotion to his mad wife, Bibi – that was a stretch for me. He would keep her locked up in the attic because there was no other solution that was safer / better for all concerned? Really? A zillionaire couldn’t find or create a decent, safe place for his mentally ill wife to live and receive the care she needed?) I think that given Lindner was trying to stick to the original, she did well to find a way to make the plot points as believable as possible.
For sure the novel has the sexiness required. The dynamic between Jane and Rathburn was compelling, and that really is the heart of the story. Jane came off as a little dull, however. She was a bit flat, not as outwardly strong as I think she needed to be in places in order to be convincing as the object of Rathburn’s desire. Jane succeeds in its moody, mysterious atmosphere, and the details around rock culture are convincing and sure to be appealing to a modern audience.
Wouldn’t it be fun to read the original, then Jane, then go see this:
Sounds like a plan.