Wednesday, November 20, 2013

99. Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey
Anne Bronte
1847
Around 220 pages












Prepare for another rave people because I absolutely loved this book and my only critique is that it was not long enough (there is something you will rarely hear me say).

Agnes Grey is raised in a poor but loving family (she often calls them her friends rather than relatives).  She decides to become a governess, much to the chagrin of her somewhat overbearing mother and older sister, who believe that she couldn't manage herself alone.  She gets a job at Bloomingfield Manor, where the children seem to be serial killers in training.  She also gets a job at Murray Manor
governing two teenage girls.  She meets  and falls for Mr. Weston but must compete with the beautiful Rosalie Murray for his affections.  This is hard for Agnes since she is awkward and shy while Rosalie is beautiful and flirty.  I get you Ags, I get you.

This was one of the most relatable books that I have read from this era.  Now, I have never been a governess but I have certainly felt the frustration when babysitting of not being able to discipline brats since their mother is breathing down your neck but then being accused of not being able to control them.  And I think everyone has felt the embarrassment Agnes did when she was sitting with a married couple that would not stop fighting.  And Agnes awkwardness around Weston is a lot more relatable, at least for me, than say, Elizabeth Bennet's ease when she talks to Darcy.

Although Agnes was very righteous and religious, I never felt as though the novel was preaching, mostly because Agnes kept most of her opinions to herself and merely observed everyone else's behavior.   Additionally, the rector, Mr. Hatfield, is one of the cruelest, most foolish characters in the novel.  I only mention this because a frequent complaint about this novel is that it is annoyingly moral, but I did not see that at all.

Finally, I loved this book because it seemed to mirror Anne's life in a lot of ways which I, of course, find very interesting since I love the Bronte sisters.

Another somewhat rambling post but this is a fantastic novel and one that should be read by everyone.  All the time.  If that is not too unreasonable a request.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The scene when Agnes kills the birds to save them from being tortured was taken from Anne's own life.

Popular during Anne's life but dropped in sales after her death.

No trailer for this one though I would love to see a movie adaptation!

UP NEXT: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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