Monday, June 11, 2012

What I really think about Wuthering Heights.

{Contains spoilers.}

I had a copy of Wuthering Heights sitting unread on my bookshelf for a couple of years. {It came in a three-book pack I bought for Jane Eyre.} Then about two years ago I decided to read it for my final book essay in English class.

I can't think of a single book in my twenty-one years of life {edited: not my twenty-one years of reading! Ha. :) Contrary to what my family might imagine, I have *not* been reading since birth} that I wish I hadn't read. Even with the worst books I've read, I'm usually glad I read them for some reason or another (even if it's to know never to pick them up again :).

I'm glad I read Wuthering Heights. It's written by the sister of the mind behind Jane Eyre, which is probably one of my favorite books. It's considered a literary classic.

But good grief. Hate is too strong a word, but I strongly dislike Wuthering Heights.

Heathcliff and Catherine are two of the most unlikable characters I have ever read. I'm sorry, but it's hard to spend a whole book with people you don't even like. And this is no "love story," whatever anyone says. It might have started out as love between them, but pretty soon it's nothing but a kind of hateful obsession. Wuthering Heights is a really depressing and just unpleasant story full of violence and revenge. Plus there are two families that are so intertwined that things get a little complicated (and creepy).

{It sort of, in a way, reminded me of Gone With the Wind. I can't tell you how disappointed I was when I saw what is supposed to be one of the best classic movies of all time. It was full of selfish and mean characters, just like WH, and I couldn't find any love story in the midst of all that.}

In Jane Eyre, bad things happen and characters make bad decisions. But there's hope and redemption and faith and so many good things. I have a hard time believing these two incredibly different books were written by sisters. :)

Knowing how much I disliked the book, I can't tell you why I still have a desire to see film adaptations of the story. :) I watched the 1998 one last week.

Ugh. The film did nothing to make me like any of the people any more. Plus the acting was pretty cheesy and overly dramatic. And seeing it played out instead of just reading it made the story seem even more awful to me. Seriously...Heathcliff digging up Catherine's grave? That's a bit overboard. I was never sure whether that really happened in the book, or if he was just imagining it. Because with the way the book is written, it's kind of hard to tell what is happening in reality, you know? :)

I have to admit that one thing that convinced me to see the film was Matthew Macfadyen (!). And he was great, despite the fact that with his gorgeous voice he really couldn't speak haltering, bad English like Hareton is supposed to. But Matthew Macfadyen with a puppy? Oh adorable.

 How do you feel about Wuthering Heights? Love it or hate it?

Until next time,


  1. Wow--you voice my thoughts entirely! Including the reference to Gone with the Wind, which I can appreciate only for the "classic film" and cinematography/technology. I once read WH some 2 or 3 times but found it confusing and dark. I want to read it again, give it one more chance... Given its similarity to some Thomas Hardy stories, maybe there is some realism in WH. Definitely, I think it's overrated as a classic "romantic" novel.

  2. Ah, I'm definitely NOT a fan of WH. I had a hard time understanding why anyone would want to read it after I finished it the first time, and then totally sat in disturbed awe while watching the movie. LOL I agree, it's depressing, dark, creepy and completely disturbed. (and little too much like a soap opera for me.) Nuff said, right? ^.^ I guess I'll just stick to lovely REAL love stories. Jane Eyre or Pride & Prejudice, anyone?

  3. To be honest I was never able to finish WH to me the book was just to hard to get into. I am however ashamed to admit that I let WH keep me from reading Jane Eyre, but after reading your post and Lizzy comment I have put it on my to read list for this summer. My goal is to read three classics this summer, and I will make sure to make Jane Eyre my first choice.

    1. I hope you enjoy Jane Eyre! I really did. :) I'm hoping to reread it this summer.

  4. Hi! I'll try to write as best I can in English. I'm commenting on your post because I was impressed by the film (the one filmed in 2011).
    I have to say that I haven't really understood it. I knew about the story but I never read the book, and after seeing the film I don't think I will. Too dark, violent, oppressive. The book is so? I escaped the logic of characters, their way of thinking. The dialogues were very few, and then all left much room for personal interpretation. I rather liked the picture, adapted the story for me. Heatcliff Why do this? Why is Catherine is like? Overall it was a big disappointment.
    A lot of hugs, Ina

  5. I totally disagree with this. I loved Wuthering Heights and think Jane Eyre is one of the most boring books I've ever read. Granted, I only read it once and it was more than 10 years ago. But I read Wuthering Heights for the first time around the same time, and still felt this way. I don't think that characters have to be likeable for me to enjoy a book. Lots of people aren't likeable but that doesn't mean their stories aren't valuable. Love is often really, really messy and can bring out the best and worst in people. That would make a REAListic love story. I'm surprised that Mr. Rochester, who keeps his first wife locked in the attic while he falls in love with the governess, is considered a more likeable character than Heathcliff. He had a love for Cathy that drove him to madness. I could go on for my own blog post about this, but I have to strongly disagree, unless you just want to read an unrealistic romance novel, that Wuthering Heights is bad for the reasons mentioned above (It's dark, wierd, violent etc.) I think it's good for those reasons. Those things are in life whether or not a reader wants to accept that.

    1. It's interesting to hear from someone who likes the story! I don't think that Wuthering Heights is "bad," but I personally found it very unpleasant and didn't like it. I'll admit that I tend to gravitate toward happier stories, but have read darker, unpleasant books before that I'm so glad I read, even if they did bother me a bit. I guess I like to be able to find a little hope and goodness at the end of a story, no matter how dark it was, and WH didn't have that.

      P.S. I'll admit that Mr. Rochester is far from the "perfect" hero, but I felt more sympathetic toward him after I read the back story of his first marriage. Even though what he did wasn't right, I can't blame him for wanting some happiness with Jane. And I think he had grown and changed by the end of the book.

    2. I think the redeeming factor about Rochester is that he does repent and find peace in the end. Also, mental institutions were pretty horrible back then, so he actually did the best he could for Bertha--his bigger fault was denying her existence.

  6. Oh, I am SO NOT A FAN of WH! Blech. On the other hand, I ADORE Jane Eyre! <3

  7. Like Sarah, I think Jane Eyre is way better. :) I'm all for happy endings and WH does not deliver on that point. I haven't read it in years, but I think I remember liking it for the pure and simple reason that it made me *feel.* A book deserves at least one star when it succeeds in doing that, but it shall never creep onto my list of favorite books, by any means. :)

    And, oh, my word, yes, why is Gone With the Wind considered so good? I did not like that movie at all. The only thing I felt with that one was angry. :(


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