Translated by Christelle Morelli and Susan Ouriou
Oh, this is a beautiful book. The art work is just lovely, I love the style of it. Simple, often black and white, but with some full colour spreads. It is really wonderful.
And the art matches the story.
Hélène used to have friends, but then something happened, she doesn’t know what, and now she doesn’t. Instead her former friends leave insulting messages about her, she’s fat, or she smells. So she has retreated into herself and into reading. At the time of this story she is enjoying Jane Eyre, hence the Jane in the title.
What I really loved about this book is that it comes across very much as an everyday tale. There are no great resolutions. The bullies are never rehabilitated because this isn’t their story. It is Hélène’s, and her everyday life is what makes it such a lovely book. The little moments with her mother are beautiful1 . And the connections she does make, with fictional characters, with an animal, and eventually with a friend, all feel true and honest.
This is a book that doesn’t shy away from how horrible children can be, but it also offers hope that brutality and cruelty aren’t the only things people are capable of. Children can be honest and kind and stand up for one another as well.
It’s really lovely and you should try to read it.
I know I am using that word a lot in this post but that’s the one word that really encapsulates this book for me ↩