Wednesday, July 12, 2017

One of my favorite teen reviews of the summer

A review of Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, neatly skewered by critical reader Katrina Darwich!

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, is a classic tale of insane passion--a love that can drive just about anyone to the point of madness and beyond. Taking place in a simpler time in Britain, a man [named Mr. Lockwood] takes shelter as a tenant in a dreary mansion known as Wuthering Heights, property of Mr. Heathcliff. But only as he remains in the town for a while longer does he learn the embittered and passionate history of the house and those who have lived there. From fiery Catherine Earnshaw, who had loved and then betrayed, and Hindley Earnshaw who had abused both person and drink in his lifetime, to Isabella Linton whose heart had lead her to a life of imprisonment, all their stories are told through the eyes of Nelly Dean, a servant who had observed the rise and fall of all at the dreaded Wuthering Heights.

Though I enjoyed the book moderately and was more or less satisfied with its ending, Heathcliff's deep and powerful passion was more of an obsession. And to be honest, I pitied the man, mostly because the object of his endless obsession was simply not worth it. She was rude, undisciplined, haughty, spoiled, and practically disgusted at the thought of being poor. Heathcliff could have done so much better, in my opinion, so it was somewhat annoying to continue reading the same lines of bitter love over and over. The rest of the characters were flawed, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Emily Bronte writes beautifully, and though the writing is a little more difficult to understand, I still found it rustic and pleasant writing. For those who like to read of family feuds, hated rivals and maddening passion, I recommend this book to you.

Editor's note: Goodreads says about this book: "Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights, an unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language. Heathcliff and Cathy believe they're destined to love each other forever, but when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them."

Speaking of obsession, I had an ongoing one with both this book and Jane Eyre (by Emily's sister, Charlotte Bronte) from when I was 13 to when I was about 16; obviously Katrina is either a less romantic or a more discriminating reader than I was! By the way, the "simpler time" was 1847.

The only review I am tempted to rate above Katrina's is this under-10-word summation by a guy on Goodreads: "Vile people are mean to one another. The End."

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