Monday, October 15, 2012

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Agnes Grey
Anne Bronte
Penguin 1988

About the Book
Agnes Grey is a Pastor's daughter. When the family falls on hard times she decides she had to go out to work to earn money to support the family. She becomes a governess first for the Bloomfield family then for the Murray family.

My Thoughts
This was the book club book for the 1st Wednesday group for September. 

I haven't read anything else by Anne Bronte, but I did watch some of the TV series of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one of my favourite books and so sets a high standard for books by the other Bronte sisters.

I quite liked Agnes Grey. Although, I was a bit annoyed at her naivety at the start of the book. Did she really think she could just start governing children like that? There was something else that annoyed me about her,  but it's been a while since I started the book that I don't remember what it was. 

Agnes Grey draws on Anne's experience as a governess and the plans of the sisters to set up a school of their own.

I think what I really enjoyed about this book is the subtle romance of the novel. We don't really get to know any of the other characters, which could be because we only see them from Agnes' point of view. I'm not sure that we get to know Agnes' true feelings about things either. However, we do get to know her feelings for Mr Weston and the awkwardness she feels when ever she sees him. I think what I like is that unlike modern romances told in the first person, such as Twilight, she doesn't over analyse Mr Weston's actions. In fact, she seems oblivious to his regard for her! 

The bulk of the story though is about her experiences as a governess. I'm not sure that she really had the disposition to be a teacher. She couldn't control her students, and in fact ended up doing some of the work she had assigned her students herself!! The parents in the families she worked for took advantage of her, and set her impossible limits when dealing with the children. Such as not discipling them. 

I am glad to have finished it, even if that was a month after we discussed it. The other members of the group really enjoyed it.

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