I should be doing work instead of writing this, so I will keep it pretty quick. Here is a “Blast from the Past” old review of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights from last year.
Nic’s Review: Wuthering Heights
It was originally my dad who told me to read classics. He knew I was beyond the beach-read teen fiction I’d mainly done over the summer. So, when school started up again, I picked Wuthering Heights as my first fiction book. I’d owned a copy for years, for whatever reason, having heard of it here and there. And the book had sat dormant on my crowded bookshelf. Then I dove into it.
The first couple of days were a bit hard, I’ll admit. The switching of narratives was confusing; it made me rethink passages several times to clear things up. But eventually everything fell into place, and the book started making sense. That doesn’t mean I’ll say I love it.
My favorite character was Heathcliff, his mystery and intrigue was incredibly addicting. His interactions were always the best to read, to try to decipher. Plus, I’d recently read Julie and Julia where Julie Powell refers to her brother as Heathcliff. I didn’t get there reference then, but it makes so much sense and fun now. I thought Catherine, the first one, was insipid and just created a tiresome love triangle. I was glad that she and Edward ended up together due to the fact that he’s more constant for her. I will admit that I was kind of sad that she died.
The settings of the book are absolutely amazing. And I don’t say that lightly. I’ve read plenty of books, and a great setting really makes it. Wuthering Heights’ dark, sharp, protruding sense, even in the English countryside, fit with the vibe and gave me a clearer picture. Thrushcross Grange, in my mind, seemed the opposite: an airy house that blended in easily with the rollicking moors. The difference between the two exaggerated Bronte’s point in a fantastic way about how different the two lives were; each unique and hard. I loved it.
However, the plot was not so up-to-par. While acknowledging that this is a classic romance novel, the whole love triangle thing got a bit boring after a while. Okay, so Catherine is married to Edgar but loves Heathcliff, and wants to be with him but loves Edgar too and wants to keep living at the Grange and yet still at the Heights; I could go on. And on. And on. And on. That’s just how the story works. If you go in prepared for that, then you’ll probably like it a bit more. Overall, the plot was based off of a love triangle, then its following generation and a string of deaths along the way. This basically leaves you with long descriptions by a faithful narrator, Nelly Dean, and a slew of dialogue.
Wuthering Heights is for sure a classic worth reading. Bronte’s take on a dramatic love life is one that’s helpful for your own. Now I know not to get bitten by a dog so I have to stay with a family for five weeks. I also know not to fall in love with an adoptive brother, and that isolation can drive even the deepest love crazy. The words of the time came to life, and I now know a whole string of old English vocab. Though I probably won’t refer to my sister as a “bonny lass,” the thing’s good to know for future readings. I give Wuthering Heights three and a half stars, since it’s got some charm, especially in setting, but beware of tough accents (I’m saying Joseph here) and a winding plot. It’s a love story for the one who wants to learn English literature. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.
I would still probably give Wuthering Heights three and a half or four stars now. I think I appreciate this one more in retrospect. It’s a good rainy day book since it’s a rainy, gray day here today too. Plus this is one that whatever library you use will almost certainly have (if you’re a library person like me). It’s also referred to in other things you may come across (ie Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia where she compares her brother to Heathcliff, which is so hilarious once you know the reference). So it’s a good reference book.
Have fun! Read good books!