Author Patricia Park
Publisher Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date May 5th 2015
For Jane Re, half-Korean, half-American orphan, Flushing, Queens, is the place she’s been trying to escape from her whole life. Sardonic yet vulnerable, Jane toils, unappreciated, in her strict uncle’s grocery store and politely observes the traditional principle of nunchi (a combination of good manners, hierarchy, and obligation). Desperate for a new life, she’s thrilled to become the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, two Brooklyn English professors and their adopted Chinese daughter. Inducted into the world of organic food co-ops, and nineteenth–century novels, Jane is the recipient of Beth Mazer’s feminist lectures and Ed Farley’s very male attention. But when a family death interrupts Jane and Ed’s blossoming affair, she flies off to Seoul, leaving New York far behind.
Reconnecting with family, and struggling to learn the ways of modern-day Korea, Jane begins to wonder if Ed Farley is really the man for her. Jane returns to Queens, where she must find a balance between two cultures and accept who she really is.
The hype Re Jane by Patricia Park received caught my attention, but that is all it was hype. Re Jane could have been a clever Jane Eyre retelling but instead, we received a bad adaptation of The Nanny, annoying voice and all.
The writing was mediocre. I also got tired of the amount of likes that were being used in conversations and the valley girl speech used in general.
Impressions While Reading
In Chapter 38 of Jane Eyre, the heroine Proclaims “Reader, I married him.” Park nodded towards this line many, many, many times (think Donald Trump saying “China” ). It was a nice inclusion the first time, but it got old really fast.
The biggest downfall was that Jane has an affair with Ed Farley, the novel’s Mr. Rochester. Morally, I believe that to be wrong and have always had a hard time getting past that in books. Not only did she have a sordid affair but a cringeworthy sex scene was also spun into the mix and felt very unnecessary. Whatever happened to “they went into the bedroom” end scene? Where is the imagination when everything is laid out in front of you.
When Jane moves to Korea, I thought we were done with Rochester wannabe and the story would take a different course. How wrong I was, she pines for him and returns, trying to make up not only with him but to become BFFs with his daughter again, and was puzzled when she would have none of it. The fact that an attempt was made for said home wrecker to ingratiate herself with the family she wronged seemed improbable and completely inappropriate and left my eyes rolling.
The ending tied anything there was to salvage up in a tidy bow and became and enlightenment of Jane Re finding herself. Reader, unfortunately, I could not marry the enjoyment felt for Jane Eyre to Re Jane and came away disappointed.