Friday, March 12, 2010

A Rant that Will Make Me Feel Better this Morning...

...But Which I'm Prepared to Recant at a Future Date Should All These Issues Somehow be Resolved to my Satisfaction.

Any one read this? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier? (Is that French and therefore pronounced in some strange way?)

I first started to read this about a month ago and two things happened. 1) I realized that I needed to read the other book club book first. 2) The first chapter was a long long long treatise about some dream where all the plants had gone wild. I hate dreams in books. They often play a role in fantasy novels and I just as often put the book down to gear up for it. And plants? Pages on overgrown flowers? Pages???

Back to the present - or at least last night. My husband had to work late, and showing a great deal personal discipline, I picked up this book again. I did have the testimonials of many readers that I respect that this was a good book. One even swore she couldn't put it down all day and got in trouble for not helping with Thanksgiving dinner. I was convinced if I pushed through the slow beginning that I would be sucked in.

I'm on page 91 (I am a fast reader and it took hours to get to page 91) and I'm still not sucked in.

After that first horrendous chapter there followed an even worse chapter. This one consisted entirely of foreshadowing. I get it, okay. Something bad is gonna happen. Something so bad you all had to run away, possibly to another country, where you are bored out of your minds and live for croquet updates. All right. Stop it now!

Phew. And it moved on. Relief, right? Oh no. 

Now I'm listening to a rather distant feeling narrator who is nameless, faceless, and ageless - and given to detailed imagining of what could/should/might have happened! I feel like I'm listening to a "classic," female JD! (Yes, a character's imaginings can be a useful literary device, but when that device is in actuality a hammer used to bludgeon the reader to death, it is no longer a useful device.) I would push through these passages only to make sure I didn't miss when things switched back to reality and narrated what DID happen.

And there were the endless comments about her age and how she was so young that she was inexperienced/ridiculous/stupid/bad mannered/

I am so bored!!

At this point, the only things that could possibly justify the amount of foreshadowing and premonitions has got to be either:
  1. This Rebecca person is not dead, or is undead, and plotting evil while eating babies raw.
  2. The housekeeper is a vampire (not so far fetched given her description) and has Rebecca in the basement in the process of "turning" and is therefore justifiably pissed that Nameless has married the Master.
  3. Maxim is actually the murderer. And he did it with his teeth.
Alas, as this was published in 1938, my husband assures me that Miss Daphne had yet to read Twilight. And I won't be thrilled with option 3 since Maxim is the one things I've enjoyed in this book. (Though I guess it is possible to enjoy a bad guy....)

Please. Can anyone tell me why I should keep reading?? Can you please share your undying love for this book with me? I am willing to change my opinion.  (Though I don't think 5 stars could be bled out of me - even under "questioning.")


  1. When I was 12ish my Dad took my brother and I to a used book store and let us pick out a book he would read to/with us each night. I chose 'The Sable Moon' by Nancy Springer because it had a unicorn on the cover. :) 12 year old girls...gotta love 'em. :) Dad and I tried to read it and I remember I hated it. So hard to read and boring. I put it down and vowed never to have anything to do with it again. Well a year or so later I found it and decided to give it another shot, I mean, really, it had a unicorn on the had to have some redeeming quality, right?! :) I ended up loving the book and it is still a favorite of mine today. Maybe, given some more time away, you may come back and love this book (although, from what you shared so far of the book, probably not...). Anyway...a few random thoughts. I look forward to finding out if anyone can redeem this book for you or if it will have to go on your 'not finished for a very good reason' list. :)
    P.S. Where can I find a more detailed list of what your star ratings mean? I thought you had a sidebar describing what each star meant but I can't seem to see it now.

  2. NO!!!

    Don't you want to find out if Maxim is or is not the bad guy?

    Don't you want to find out what the deal is with Rebecca after all?

    Don't you want to find out if "no name girl" (and the fact that she is given no name is one of the most intriguing things about this book) has a happily ever after or not?

    I KNOW this book can't be that boring because my very own son, when he was 18, loved it. AND my husband, and neither one of them can stand even a little bit of boring!

    Hmmmm.... am I helping at all?

    P.S. There are NO vampires in this book! :)