Read of the Week: Janet’s Repentance by George Eliot

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One of our Course Leaders, Bev provides this week’s Read under the spotlight, suggesting the story Janet’s Repentance which comes from Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot.

This is the story about the division of a community who live in a town called Millby, it is about how friendships are formed and broken, about a newcomer in town and how he is treated. But for me it was a story of a woman’s survival through the bleakest of times….

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this book (first published in 1857) has no bearings on today’s society. Janet’s story is one which sadly is still true today in 2016. Janet suffers years of abuse from her drunken husband which drives her through misery and shame in turn to drink also; something which her husband abhors….

I’ll teach you to keep me waiting in the dark, you pale, staring fool!’ he said, advancing with his slow, drunken step. ‘What, you’ve been drinking again, have you? I’ll beat you into your senses.” – George Eliot, Janet’s Repentance

9780199689606This is a book about humanity and how we cope with the things that life throws at us. But Janet does cope and she comes out of this as bigger person.

Even neighbours with no strong personal interest in her (Janet)…could not be touched with fresh admiration for her – and not feel, at least vaguely, that she had entered on a new life in which it was a sort of desecration to allude to the painful past.” – George Eliot, Janet’s Repentance

It may seem like a simple read at first but there are so many different layers to this book and to the characters; both good and bad have so much depth and I think that as well as it being a great book for your own personal reading it would also make a great story in a Shared Reading group.

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