Monday, January 12, 2009

Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

 Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte
464 pages
published: 1847
For: Book Club
1 of 5 stars

My copy of this classic has a million pages of forwards, prefaces, original forwards, and the like which I dutifully waded through. These extraneous readings got me much more enthused about reading the book since they discussed how controversial it was, how shocking, how horrible. It told me the book read like a stream of consciousness, and that it crossed the internal line of horribleness. How exciting!

For the record, it is nothing like stream of consciousness. And while it had almost no characters worth knowing, it was neither shocking nor horrible.

It did keep my interest most of the time. I appreciated the family tree that I finally understood enough to no longer reference. But I did not love it. I don't know if I even liked it. Neither did I dislike it.

Cathy was unbelievable selfish (and stupid) and killed herself out of spite. Pretty sad. Heathcliff was mean and heartless. But rarely have I seen such a patient bad guy. The most disturbing scene was at the graveyard (which I had to read twice to understand) but it was all right with me. (Too much fantasy?)

A couple things that stuck out to me the most:

How myopic these peoples' lives were! They never saw anyone, went anywhere, or did anything. Cathy Jr. never associated with anyone but her father, servants, and later the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. I would get bored reading because of how boring I perceived their lives to be. Gasp!

How unbelievable I found most characters and behavior. How did Cathy manage to ruin her health permanently by throwing a fit and not eating for 3 days? I could do the same right now and still be fine! How did Isabella run off with Heathcliff when every one she had ever known told him how awful he was (Heathcliff never denying it nor showing any affection) AND Heathcliff hanging her dog before they left together. Really? Why did Heathcliff insist Cathy Jr. marry his son when he knew the kid would die and leave him with the daughter of the woman he loved? I could go on. Nothing seemed plausible to me. Just sick and wrong.

So. I think poor Emily must truly have been a sad, lonely, disturbed soul. The most I can say is that I'm glad to cross this book off the list of books I've wanted to read.


  1. oh julie, i hate wuthuring heights :) and my mama hearts is, which is unfathomable to me. the bronte book i love is jane eyre...

  2. This was the first book I read last year in my attempt to read classics. It isn't that I hated it - I just didn't love it. I can't remember it very well - but I know that it puzzled me and I didn't like Cathy or Heathcliff or anyone really. I loved Jane Eyre. Those poor sisters must of had a hard life.
    I think you should read The Count of Monte Cristo next - I really liked that book - but then maybe it was because I read it right after reading Wuthering Heights.

  3. This makes me feel really really strange for liking it.... but you know... that's how it goes!

  4. O I just love this book. Perhaps because I don't see it as a romance. I see it as testament of how people can be selfish and hurt the ones they love.