It's silly how much trouble I had writing this review. Certainly, I had thoughts about this book - but actually documenting them? Dumbly difficult.
What a little gem, though. Anne is the overshadowed Bronte, generally considered the least interesting of the three, if not dismissed outright as talentless in comparison with her sisters. Which is unfair - she wasn't worse, she was different. She was more of a realist than her sisters, and I would argue that she does her thing just as well as her sisters do theirs.
Obviously, governesses were responsible for the academic and moral education of their pupils. Fair enough. OR WAS IT? Because in Agnes Grey, Agnes' employers are completely oblivious and unreasonably demanding - they are blind to their children's faults, spoil them rotten, blame Agnes for anything that goes wrong, treat her with blatant disrespect - and after ALL THAT wonder why she has no control over the kids!!!
Mary Ann and Fanny, whom I was just bringing out, ran to admire his spoils, and to beg each a bird for themselves.
"No, not one!" cried Tom. "They're all mine. Uncle Robson gave them to me - one, two, three, four, five - you shan't touch one of them! no, not one for your lives!" continued he, exultantly, laying the nest on the ground, and standing over it, with his legs wide apart, his hands thrust into his breeches-pockets, his body bent forward and his face twisted into all manner of contortions in the ecstasy of his delight.
"But you shall see me fettle 'em off. My word, but I will wallop 'em! See if I don't now! By gum! but there's rare sport for me in that nest."
"But Tom," said I. "I shall not allow you to torture those birds. They must either be killed at once, or carried back to the place you took them from, that the old birds may continue to feed them."
"But you don't know where that is, madam. It's only me and uncle Robson that knows that."
"But if you don't tell me, I shall kill them myself - much as I hate it."
"You daren't. You daren't touch them for your life! because you know papa and mamma and uncle Robson would be angry. Ha, hah! I've caught you there, miss!"
"I shall do what I think right in a case of this sort, without consulting anyone."...
So saying - urged by a sense of duty- at the risk of both making myself sick and incurring the wrath of my employers - I got a large flat stone, that had been reared up for a moustrap by the gardener, then, having once more vainly endeavored to let the little tyrant to let the birds be carried back, I asked what he intended to do with them. With fiendish glee he commenced a list of torments, and while he was busied in the relation, I dropped the stone upon his his intended victims, and crushed them flat beneath it."
I've read several comparisons of Anne's style with Jane Austen's, which I would say isn't totally off the mark; they both write with a particular feeling of light, refined warmth and deliberation. Anne presents the infuriating unjustness of a governess's situation with a kind of measured, quiet indignation. Final verdict: Agnes Grey is short and sweet and very, very good. Give it a try!
Sorry for all the sad men GIFs today. (Although, would you really call Dawson a man?)