Title: Re Jane
Author: Patricia Park
My rating: 3.5/5
Published: May 2015
Time: 13 hours, 29 minutes in audiobook form
All Jane has ever known is that she is an inconvenience. All she knew of her mother was that she was a wild child who had gotten knocked up by a GI in South Korea and that after her mothers subsequent death she was sent to live with her uncle and aunt in Flushing, Queens, NY. Now an adult, she has disappointed her uncle by attending a college outside of the ivy leagues and continuing to work at the family grocery store, despite his wishes that she get a big corporate job. As her childhood best friend, Eunice, leaves for California, she mentions a nanny job posted in Brooklyn for an adopted daughter of two academics, feminist Beth and down-to-earth Ed. What follows next is Jane’s journey–through both the boroughs of New York and Seoul, South Korea — to find who she is, and who she wants to be.
I first heard about this book on NPR last summer and was curious about it as it was an adapted version of Jane Eyre but with a half Korean-half American in New York heroine. My husband is half Chinese, and I was definitely able to relate to the situations and feelings that Jane had about her uncle’s family and the seemingly impossibility of pleasing them!
I liked the beginning of the book well enough, Jane’s character was relate-able as a recent college graduate trying to find a place in the real world… but then it started to just go on and on. Part of this might be that it was on audiobook and I had no idea it was going to be 13.5 hours long. I listened to it through traveling to South Denver and back and then every morning while getting ready for a week, and then through three flights! It seemed like some of the parts could have been skipped to shorten it a bit. And, while I liked Jane, I very much disliked both men that Jane was involved with throughout the book as they were both controlling and set off a lot of my “potentially abusive relationship!!” alarms (working in a domestic violence shelter makes me a little hyper-vigilant at times). In the end, I was proud of her and how far she had come both professionally and as a person and the book had a pleasing way of wrapping things up.
Have you read Re Jane? What did you think?