If you have not read Wide Sargasso Sea or Jane Eyre, go read them both right now (maybe read Jane Eyre first) and then come back.

Wide Sargasso Sea is a strange book. I’m having a hard time understanding the bare bones of the story line. And then this:

‘If my father, my real father, was alive you wouldn’t come back here in a hurry after he’d finished with you. If he was alive. Do you know what you’ve done to me? It’s not the girl, not the girl. But I loved this place and you have made it into a place I hate. I used to think that if everything else went out of my life I would still have this, and now you have spoilt it. It’s just somewhere else where I have been unhappy, and all the other things are nothing to what has happened here. I hate it now like I hate you and before I die I will show you how much I hate you.’

Something about this speech from Antoinette was very, very familiar. I know this feeling, that you have let someone into your precious, sacred space and then he breaks it and breaks you, and what used to comfort you just reminds you of pain and your own stupidity and you feel like you can never trust that sense of security again.

I didn’t want to read this book because I didn’t want my opinion of Mr. Rochester to change. When I read Jane Eyre in high school, and many times after that, I saw a hero. That’s what the man is in the story, right? He’s a hero, which means he can’t be cruel or thoughtless or selfish. Of course, in the story, Rochester calls himself cruel and selfish, but I was too young to understand that Charlotte Bronte was writing an antihero. I didn’t know enough stories for the true definition of hero, so I assumed Rochester was one.

Wide Sargasso Sea does not paint him as a villain– not completely. When Rochester was the narrator, it seemed he was just as crazy as his wife. How could a person stay sane when forced to marry a stranger to preserve the dignity of one’s distant relatives?

Bibliophile’s Quest

It’s amazing that it has taken me so long to begin this blog.  I’ve loved books my whole life.  I went to St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so that I could study the Great Books Program.

Since I graduated in 2005, I’ve moved to Los Angeles, back to Santa Fe, Boston, and finally: Austin.  I have lived in Austin for 4 years, but only just got my own apartment last March.  I finally have a space of my own, so I’m going to fill it with books.

This Christmas, I decided to take a week in El Paso to pack up all the books that have sat in boxes, to bring them to my little apartment in Austin, and finally set up my library.  My mom rented a Jeep for me as my Christmas present and I piled in the boxes of books:

boxes o' books
boxes o’ books

Fun facts:

1. Those Starbucks boxes have been with me since I left Santa Fe in 2007.  The very large, silver bags of coffee beans came in those boxes, we called them bullet bags.  Those boxes are the perfect size for moving, you can fill them full of books and still lift them and wrap your arms around them.  I have moved books across the country, up 2 flights of stairs, down 2 flights of stairs, up 2 flights of stairs again, down 2 flights of stairs again, and back across the country again.  I know what I’m talking about.

2. I have at least 3 copies of Jane Eyre.  I mean, when your copy is stuck in a box in El Paso and a new Jane Eyre movie comes out while you’re living in Boston, you have to buy another copy.  I can’t explain the third copy.

So now, after carrying all those books up 2 flights of stairs again (by myself–RAWR), my tiny efficiency apartment is full of boxes of books.  Time to buy some bookshelves.  To be continued…