DD, age 8, reads Jane Eyre
DD brought home a children’s version of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre today. It’s her school reading book, which she’s supposed to read out loud to me every evening. Sometimes I let her read it without me listening (don’t tell Teacher). Our conversation went like this:
‘Phew, mummy, finished my book. I only got it this morning!’
‘Wow, DD. It’s 112 pages long and quite dense. When did you manage to do all that reading?’ (She was in the park after school).
‘Oh… well, we get a lot of reading time at school? When the Arabic A kids are in Islamic studies?’
‘And you read 112 pages in 20 minutes?’
‘So who’s Mr Rochester?’
‘Um? The neighbour?’ (Wrong)
‘And who’s Pilot?’
‘A man? Whose plane crashed?’ (It’s Mr Rochester’s dog).
‘DD, please don’t lie to me. Did you read the book?’
‘Yes mummy, honestly I did.’
‘Or did you “speed-read”, where you go da-di-da-di-da…boring bit da-di-da-di-da…’ and not really take it in?’
DD blushes. ‘Um… maybe a bit? I just really don’t want to read it. It looks so boring.’
‘So you haven’t read the book?’
So today we started reading the book together – and, you know what. The kids’ version is really good because it’s in normal English, not that Bronte romantic English. A spade’s called a spade, not dressed up in a headscarf and given fluttery eyelashes and left outside on the freezing patio to die until a saviour comes by on a white horse, if you know what I mean.
I wonder if Teacher’ll take a request for Tess of the D’Urbervilles next. Always liked a bit of Thomas Hardy, me. Especially if it’s condensed.