One of my goals for 2011 is to read some of the “best books” I’ve never read. I started with Wuthering Heights.
It took me nearly a full month to get through. I really struggled through the first half of the book, but I picked up some speed in the second half. I don’t know if it was because it became easier to read (I could understand the language and narration better), if it was because I could see the end in sight, or if it was because Catherine died. I kind of think it was the end of her that made it better.
Not that it was better.
I’ve gotta say, I don’t get the fascination with the book, Heathcliff, or the doomed love story at the center of the novel. I found the book painful to read, especially Joseph’s speech (in fact, I skipped over most of his parts). I found Heathcliff to be a dick. I found almost every other character to be weak, most of them sickly. I did not like Catherine, although Cathy was somewhat tolerable…when compared to everyone else.
Let me back up just a little bit and take a slight tangent. I have this weird ability to appreciate things I don’t like. A particular dish in a restaurant that sounds wonderful, although I don’t like half the things in it and would never order it. A movie, such as The Green Mile, that I can appreciate for it’s story and acting and directing – yes, it was an amazing movie – and yet hate every moment of it and vow to never watch it again.
Wuthering Heights was wonderfully written, and you have to give Brontë credit for creating flawed (and therefor “real”) characters. Her descriptions of the houses and moors were wonderfully done. But even flawed characters have to have one redeeming quality, and these characters had none. None.
How is this a great love story? It was abusive, and violent, and obsessive. The characters were vengeful, and spiteful, and immature.
What is it with books about unhealthy relationships and people in love who make it a point to make the other person miserable and hurt them as much as they can? Did I miss the lesson in school where this is the ideal? Oh, poor Catherine, poor Heathcliff, their love is doomed.
Poor me, for reading this.
Although, I do have to say, I laughed every single time someone “ejaculated.” Certainly not the same meaning we use today…