Title: Dear Jane
Author: Marina DelVecchio
Genre: Young Adult/Coming-of-Age
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Kit Kat is a fifteen-year-old adoptee who writes letters to her favorite literary character, Jane Eyre, as a means of surviving a violent childhood in Greece and a harrowing adoption in New York that requires her to silence her memories and her voice. In writing letters to Jane, Kit Kat discovers a connection to literature that saves her life. Dear Jane is about family, love, forgiveness, and the power of a good book.
Disclaimer: I recieved a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Thank you for writing this book. It’s not one that I would normally have picked out for myself, but here we are, after a roller-coaster of emotions.
It’s taken me a while to get through this book. The first reason is that it is INTENSE; the narrative is chock-full of heavy themes, and had I tried reading all of this in one go I think it would have been too much for me to handle. That being said, not once did the book ever lose its ability to compel me onward – I read the second 50% of it today, just because I finally had the time and mental capacity to get on with it.
(On that note, I would advise anyone who is easily upset to perhaps give this one a miss. Trigger warnings include suicide, rape and physical/verbal abuse in amongst others.)
There are a few little things that jarred slightly as I was reading; a couple of times I thought Kit Kat was talking about one mother, then a few pages down the line it turned out to be the other one (though that’s probably more of a me thing, since for the most part it was pretty clear which one she was referring to.) Another thing was that at one point a nun says “Yup.”; at first this felt pretty unreal, but then I remembered that this is a diary and that Kit Kat is probably paraphrasing and putting her own words in.
The second reason it’s taken me so long to read is that I’ve been at uni, and haven’t had as much time on my hands as I do at home. This part does play into my review a little bit, and this is why: parts of that final chapter could have been written by me. I’m currently the same age as the protagonist, studying English Lit, and I’m constantly learning about myself and trying to “write my own narrative.”
The whole theme of living for yourself, and not for those who you should ‘owe’ is especially close to me at the moment. There’s a part of the book that rang especially true, to the point I highlighted it:
“As the writer of my narrative, I write my own story, my way. Just like Jane. Just like you.”
Isn’t that such a lovely notion? Being able to write your own way through life?
I also appreciated that this isn’t a ‘happily ever after’ kind of book in the stereotypical sense; it does, however, revolve around the protagonist paving the way to her own ‘happy ending’, which I guess is left up to us to ponder.
The whole pages dedicated to literary analysis of Jane Eyre in comparison with Kit Kat’s life were BRILLIANT, might I add (though I’ve never actually read Jane Eyre), and I can’t wait to read this again at some point in the future once I’ve read the other, so that my understanding of this book might be illuminated.
“You didn’t desert me, and, in turn, I have not deserted myself.
I have not forgotten who I am.”