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Re Jane: A Novel Hardcover – May 5, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Dutiful Jane Re, a half-Korean/half-American orphan living in Flushing, Queens, and working in her strict uncle's grocery store, tries to escape her lot in life by becoming the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys, English professors in Brooklyn who have adopted a Chinese girl. She soon falls in love with Mr. Ed Farley, despite the existence of Beth Mazer, his feminist wife. An emergency trip to Seoul because of a death in the family pushes her to consider her choices, especially her budding affair with her boss. The contrasts among the different environments in which Jane finds herself—her uncle's grocery store, the Mazer-Farleys's Brooklyn neighborhood, and modern-day Korea— are vivid and pronounced and reflect the different cultures that make up and sometimes cause conflict within the heroine's identity. The young woman's struggle to find the balance between what her family and tradition expect from her and what she hopes to fashion for herself will ring true for teens. The witty and charming protagonist will win over readers. Pair with Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea for a nuanced look at Jane Eyre retellings. VERDICT This fun, contemporary, and moving reimagining of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre offers an honest look at life between two cultures and the importance of living for oneself—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal

Review

"Breezy, engaging... a truly fresh, modern take on the coming-of-age novel"--New York Times Book Review

"Like her Brontean namesake, Jane narrates her tale with honesty and wit. . . Reader, you'll love her"--O Magazine

“Snappy and memorable with its clever narrator and insights on  clashing cultures.”
—Entertainment Weekly

"Be ready to mull over your own place in the world as you root wholeheartedly for Jane to find hers."--Glamour

"Re Jane . . . drolly explore[s] issues of class, ethnicity and women's autonomy for an unlikely heroine of the 21st century."--Maureen Corrigan, NPR 

“Park’s debut is a cheeky, clever homage to Jane Eyre with touching meditations on Korean-American identity. . . . Park’s clever one-liners, and her riffs on cultural identity will resonate with any reader who’s ever felt out of place.”
—Publishers Weekly

"Re Jane is breezy and accessible. . . Park offers real insight into assimilationist struggles . . . Park's portrait of Korean-American life feels authentic and is ultimately endearing. Charlotte Brontë would be proud."
—BookPage

“Park is a fine writer with an eye for the effects of class and ethnic identity, a sense of humor, and a compassionate view of human weakness. . . An enjoyable book offering a portrait of a young woman struggling to come into her own in the increasingly complicated opening years of a new century."
—Kirkus Reviews

“[Jane’s] journey ripples with comic and surprisingly authentic moments. Park is a smart, engaging writer, able to capture the emotional weight of a romantic gaze as well as the complicated ties of family. . . . Most everyone who has struggled to fit in will relate to parts of Park's coming-of-age tale. . .  Reader, try not to leave charmed.
—Denver Post
 
“In her delightful debut novel, Patricia Park uses the classic novel Jane Eyre as a template to examine very modern concepts: questions of identity and love, culture and conscience, even the hardships of immigration. But you don’t really need familiarity with Charlotte Brontë’s most famous work to appreciate Re Jane; it’s entertaining all on its own, vibrant and witty and a hell of a lot of fun.”
—The Miami Herald

"A sensitive, witty tale of the search for belonging....Park's novel is so much more than a mere retelling of Jane Eyre . . . Readers should feel free to take this 'Jane' as is - an astute, resonating, humorous, discerning, original debut."--The Christian Science Monitor 

[A] delightful first novel...Park's narrative voice is energetic, witty (the book bristles with one-liners) and thoughtful."--BBC.com

Re Jane is a rich and engaging novel.  Besides being a love story, it is infused with contemporary subject matter, such as longing versus belonging, the immigrant experience.  Patricia Park writes with earnestness, honesty, and exuberance, which make the novel thoroughly enjoyable.
Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of War Trash and Waiting 
 
"The Korean Americans of Queens find a daring new voice in Patricia Park's debut novel, as she takes a story we know and makes it into a story we've not seen before--a novel for the country we are still becoming.”
Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night 
 
“Patricia Park's Re Jane is packed with authenticity, poignancy and humor. I was enchanted by this modern retelling of Jane Eyre as the tough yet vulnerable narrator captured my heart.”
Jean Kwok, bestselling author of Girl In Translation and Mambo in Chinatown
 
 “In Re Jane, Patricia Park transforms Charlotte Bronte’s beloved novel with her own inimitable wit and imagination….A wonderfully suspenseful novel that will delight those who know the original, and those who don’t.”
Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“A noteworthy debut from a writer who opens a window to an understanding of immigrants anywhere.”
Elizabeth Nunez,  author of Prospero’s Daughter and Anna in-Between.
 
Re Jane is a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre that’s also entirely its own exquisite story. Jane is a hilarious, sometimes muddled, and utterly beguiling heroine. Park's surprising twists and razor-sharp writing and deep heart make the pages fly by. This story is all about what it’s like being young and learning from mistakes and figuring out who you are without fear.”
Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife
 
“Some nerve, to take Jane Eyre, reconfigure it, make the heroine an orphaned half-white Korean girl, all the while mixing new-fangled Jello shots, hipsterisms, and spicy fish stew  with old-fashioned romance. Some nerve to bring it off with such energy, color, and emotional insight! Reader, you'll love it.”
Daniel Menaker, author of My Mistake

“What a pleasure, this journey from Queens to Brooklyn to Korea and back with such a smart, witty, observant insider.  And have I mentioned the writing? So many times I said to myself as I read a particularly delicious sentence or description in Re Jane why can't do that?” 
Elinor Lipman, author of The View from Penthouse B
 
“Patricia Park displays her keen observation skills, her penchant for finding le mot juste (be it in English or Korean) and her natural gift for story telling in her witty debut novel, Re Jane. Not only does this charming novel entertain, especially with spot-on descriptions of people, but it also opens a window into the Korean culture.  This may be Patricia Park's first novel, but it won't be her last.”
Firoozeh Dumas, bestselling author of Funny in Farsi
 
“This is a richly imagined and engrossing novel, and also an important work that marks what it means to be American now.  Park's writing is remarkable for its tenderness and honesty.”
Sabina Murray, author of Tales from the New World and The Caprices
 
“Even with its appealing echoes of Jane Eyre, Patricia Park's first novel is a true original--a smart, fresh, story of cultural complications that hasn't yet been told in quite this way. The funny and shrewdly observant narrator won me over on the very first page.”
Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525427406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525427407
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jane Re has always felt like she didn't fit in. Half Korean and half American, she was shuttled off to her uncle in the States after her mother died and her grandfather refused her. And she's felt like she's paid for her mother's mistake ever since.

When her hopes of a career on Wall Street are dashed - at least temporarily - by a troubled economy, Jane applies for an au pair position with a Brooklyn family. Her uncle is aghast at the thought, but for Jane it finally means getting out from under his thumb. The family, a professor of women's issues and a high school english teacher, have a ten-year-old daughter they adopted from China. Their hope, initially, was to bring in a nanny with a Chinese background, but they hire Jane instead. It's a big change for Jane, bigger still when she starts to fall for her new boss!

Patricia Park's debut is a great play on Jane Eyre! A heavily "inspired by" tale, but one that deviates quite a bit and stands on its own two feet: Jane Re is no Jane Eyre, Ed Farley definitely no Edward Rochester, and fortunately her family isn't at all the kind of family Jane Eyre was saddled with. Not to mention the fact that the wife in this case isn't secreted away in some attic holding pen.

Did I mention Ed Farley is no Mr. Rochester? I have to say I did not love Jane for falling for him. And yet, the path she takes after realizing her "mistake" is fabulous! And I did so adore our heroine in spite of that one issue (she agonizes over it quite a bit as well, which is further endearing). Her family, too! Oh, I was so glad that Jane's family wasn't horrid and monstrous! It takes quite a while - and a trip around the world - before Jane herself starts to feel comfortable in her own skin and therefore comfortable with her family.
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Format: Hardcover
I was pretty excited when I first heard about Re Jane. A contemporary Korean American retelling of Jane Eyre? Yes, please. It's one of my favorite classics, and one I've had success (and some failures) with the retelling thereof. Authors do love to tinker with this tale. I've read every kind of version, from scifi and fantasy to steampunk and contemporary, and I am nothing if not up for another go. So I went into Patricia Park's debut novel with somewhat high hopes, even having heard that the Rochester character's wife was in fact alive and kicking and not at all locked up in their Brooklyn brownstone's attic. I decided to give Ms. Park the benefit of the doubt. I also love this cover. So modern, so bright, so full of promise.

Jane Re has thus far lived a lackluster life by most standards. She's spent her whole life under the thumb of her unloving and unmoving aunt and uncle, slaving away in the family grocery store at all hours and never quite managing to live up to expectations or fit into her Korean American Queens neighborhood. Finally, she graduates and, against everyone's better judgement (including possibly her own), takes a job as an au pair for a somewhat unorthodox couple in Brooklyn. The Mazer-Farley household is something of an enigma. Beth Mazer flits around bound and determined to be the most nonjudgmental of free spirits and insists her adopted Chinese daughter Devon and her fellow academic husband Ed follow suit. As Jane settles into her new home, she finds the workings of this unusual family fascinating, but the deeper entrenched she becomes, the harder it is to define just what role she is to play in their lives.

So.
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Format: Hardcover
Jane has lived in Flushing, Queens her entire life. After she was orphaned as a baby, her grandfather sent her from South Korea to live with her Uncle in America. She was always told it was for her own good due to the fact that her father was an American G.I. During that time, many Koreans were still racist towards biracial people. Jane doesn't see how growing up in Korea could have been any worse then the life she has in Flushing. She felt the same prejudices in America. She was, if not shunned, then kept at a distance by her peers. At home, she feels she is treated no better then an indentured servant. When she is offered the chance to work as a au pair for the Mazer-Farley family, she jumps at the chance. The Mazer-Farleys may be a little odd, but they treat her well and Jane absolutely loves their daughter, Devon. Things are great at first, then two things happen. She starts to fall in the with her employer, Ed, and there is a sudden death in her family that will send her rushing to Korea. Jane will find out the Korea of today is very different then the Korea she has heard about her entire life. It might even be the perfect place for her.

This was without a doubt the best retelling of Jane Eyre I have ever read. Park's writing is pure magic. The story never felt rushed or felt dragging at any point. The changes she made to the original story, in order to make it work for the early 2000s setting , felt right. All the characters were unique with their own distinct personalities. The American and Korean story-lines worked really well together. The only real problem I had with the book was Ed. It seems he is supposed to come of as loving and nurturing. Just a guy who had things turn out differently then plan. To me, though, he came off as manipulative and controlling.
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