Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Where did I get the book and how many pages?
I already owned a kindle version of this book, which boasts 233 pages.
Have I read this book before?
No. A year, maybe two years ago, I decided to read it and couldn’t get past the fifth page. I had only decided to read it based on a critique I had read of a character in another book that I didn’t totally understand. Okay, fine, I was reading a critique of Bella from Twilight, researching the qualities that make a character largely disliked. She wasn’t the only character I was reading about, just the one relevant for this discussion. One of the critiques was her favorite book being Wuthering Heights. (I’m not sure where that came from, so it might be wrong. I’m not a Twilight person.) This was considered to be a bad thing, because the character was depressed, and their favorite book (quoting from memory here, it’s been a long time) ‘had characters who literally died of depression.’ Having never read the book, I didn’t get the reference and wanted to understand. I just couldn’t do it though. The book didn’t grab me at the time, and I felt that was enough.
What do I already know?
Well, apparently people die from depression. I know there is foggy moors, and someone named Catherine. As far as I have heard, Mr. Heathcliff is considered to be romantic and sexy, much like Mr. Darcy.
What do I think now?
Um. Well. It’s not good.
All right, that is overly simplistic. First of all, I have said before I am not a large fan of the Bronte sisters. I find them to be dark in a depressing, not fun way. I know I was going in with preconceptions, and I am happy to say that many of them were false. Or at least not entirely accurate.
I did struggle with the beginning again. I don’t like the dynamic of the story within a story. I met many characters right away, and maybe it was intended to get me invested in their life but it actually was kind of confusing. The story takes place over a a few months, but the story within the story is over decades. By the time I saw the characters who were introduced in the beginning again, I couldn’t remember exactly what was going on with them. Additionally, the breaks in the action occasionally threw me off as I tried to remember who was telling the story now, and how they were telling it. It was a distraction, but no the end of the world.
In spite of the distraction, I did get into the story eventually. I had to give it about 50 pages, but I got there. I could see some of the bad stuff happening, and see how everything could come together to create such unhappy characters. As compelling as the story became, I hated it. It was depressing, and frustrating. These are horrible people. One household of cruel and unfeeling people who have been given the power to make so many others miserable as well. I was almost happy with each death that occurred because it was either removing a horrible human being from existence, or freeing someone who was within their power.
More than anything, I do not understand how anyone can consider Heathcliff to be a romantic character. He is an ass. I’m sorry to be honest here, but let’s be realistic. He couldn’t have the girl he loved, so he destroyed everyone’s life around him. Comparing him to Mr. Darcy is completely inaccurate in my mind. Sure, they were both a bit surly, but Mr. Darcy’s crankiness is explained by his ingrained pride and incredible shyness, both of which he works to overcome in order to win his love Heathcliff was a snot nosed kid who worked to get money in order to make the people who were mean to him suffer. No, his life wasn’t easy, but he chose to come back after he got out. Seriously, I don’t get the attraction here. Please, if you are in the Heathcliff fan club, explain the appeal of this man to me, because I do not get it at all. Honestly, I would like to understand.
Should you read this book before you die?
As much as I did not like this book, I do see redeeming qualities. The writing is good, and it is a good portrayal of anger, resentment, and revenge. I might not like any of these people, but the story of their fate is still engaging and, well, entertaining. It is great for what it is; it’s just not for me.
Coming up next is another long one, The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope followed by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey.
Happy Reading All!