If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you know, Charlotte Bronte caught my attention and won my heart last year, even though home girl has been around for centuries. I don’t know why I waited so many years to pick up her books, but I eventually warmed up to the idea of tackling the Bronte sisters.
Started with Villette followed by Jane Eyre and I loved them both, so much. I can’t even put into words. You should definitely read the reviews I wrote for them. Just click here for Villette, and here for Jane Eyre, if you’re interested.
However, coming to The Professor I was extremely disappointed.
For starters, I couldn’t believe that the mind the conjured ever lasting stories and the pen that wrote masterpieces like Villette and Jane Eyre, wrote The Professor. I felt as though this wasn’t coming from the headstrong, principled, and ambitious Charlotte Bronte that everyone loves.
The Professor was such a disappointing story for me, and it was similar to Villette but from the point of view of a male English teacher who moves to a small town in Brussels to teach at an all girls school.
The story line is so similar that it contains the same conniving headmistress, a French teacher who is arrogant and pompous, and a journey of finding a living outside of England after losing good graces and wealth in England, like Villette. along with a love triangle, losing fortune in England and similar themes.
But where Villette is more reflective, sombre, melancholic and a story of finding your own path and identity, The Professor was plain annoying. It felt like this story was written by an old white dude in the 19th century, who got the short straw of his inheritance and was sour about it till the end of his life.
I honestly felt that Charlotte Bronte was pandering towards a more male oriented audience with this book. The writing didn’t feel transcending or universal like her other two books, rather something that would please reader only exclusive to that time. This is my own opinion but I do feel that with The Professor being rejected multiple times during her life by publishing houses, she rewrote or edited the story so it would get published.
I say this because Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre after this and we all know what a fabulous, strong and amazing gothic novel it is, even if you overlook the “romance” theme, Jane Eyre is phenomenal. That is why I was highly disappointed by The Professor as I thought it lacked a lot of substance, had a pretty flat character arc and before I sound too severe, I couldn’t feel my mind wowed or my heart pleased while reading it.
Maybe not every novel by your favorite author has to be a masterpiece, and maybe not every novel can live up to the reputation and success, of its predecessors. But if you really want to read The Professor, I recommend simply reading Villette as it has a similar plot with a female heroine and a more sombre story line, and character journey that has its highs and lows.
Unfortunately for me, I just couldn’t like The Professor and if you do like this story, please tell me. I’m all ears to have my opinions changed, but until then my views on this book remain the same, and my adoration for Charlotte Bronte as well.
Onto the basics:
- Rating: 2.0/5.0
- Reader level: As a classic it is hard, but if you got through Jane Eyre alright, then you’ll find this easy to read.
- Should you read: Unless you are curious like me to read everything by Charlotte Bronte, whether good or bad, then sure. Otherwise, Villette and Jane Eyre are far better picks.
- Would I read it again: NOPE.
Till next time,