Title: Agnes Grey
Author: Anne Brontë
Page Count: 302 Pages (Paperback)
Agnes Grey is the diary of a clergyman’s daughter who is forced by her family’s financial circumstances to seek employment as a governess. Unfortunately, she is forced to deal with her less than enthusiastic charges but still holds the belief that she will be able to make in their lives.
Generally, Agnes’ character does not change much in the book and she seemed to be the voice of reason for her students and her employers, though no one seemed to pay attention to her. This may have been contributed by her station in life-knowing very well that she was dependant on your employers. Her story does not gloss over the pressing issues of the day such as social hierarchies, marriage proposals and of course vanity-which is still an important topic in 2017. One of my favourite quotes in the book is:
We are naturally disposed to love what gives us pleasure, and what more pleasing than a pleasing than a beautiful face-when we know no harm of the professor at least? …if a woman is fair and amiable, she is praised for both qualities, but especially the former, by the bulk of mankind: if, on the other hand, she is disagreeable in person and character, her plainness is commonly inveighed against as her greatest crime…
It is quite clear that nothing much has changed in terms of the importance of saving face and maintaining that suitable matches with wealth and beauty as top priorities.
For a classic, this edition seemed to be an accessible read and I was able to finish it 2-3 sittings. So I would highly recommend this as a getaway book for someone who is intimidated by the idea of reading classics.
I decided to pick this lesser-known Brontë-sisters’ book to have a change of pace and to take a break from my ARC review posts. In addition, I was also challenged by Steve Donoghue’s video, the seven deadly sins of YA (Young Adult fiction). I guess the one that caught my attention was definitely sloth. He challenged 20 and 30-year-olds, not to limit themselves to exclusively read YA. While I do enjoy some Dear America, I know I have a bit of an obsession with WWII literature that has proliferated over the last couple of years.
This is my first classic of the year and I am so proud of myself for reading it before the December 31st. Victorian literature has seemed pretty intimidating because the language structure differs from modern English. I have to confess that sometimes, I have felt less of a “well-read” reader for having not ticking of titles off lists such as “BBC’s 100 Books To Read Before You Die”. But after picking up this edition, I am encouraged that it is all about finding the suitable translation and edition that you are comfortable with.
If you are in Nairobi and you are interested in this edition of classics edition, be sure to check them out at Prestige Bookshop (non-affiliate link)