In the interest of coming clean, let me just say that I bought this book some 10-odd years after deliberately not reading it in high school. I saw it in the store with the new cool illustrated cover, and frankly, I'm a sucker for a new cool illustrated cover. (But not as much of a sucker as I am for the new Penguin classic hardcovers. Amazing!!)
Isn't there a little saying about not judging a book by its cover? Something like that, at any rate, and you know what? I should have listened. Great cover does NOT = great book, and I shall now elaborate on the reasons why this book is so lacking:
1. Copious use of the word ejaculate: Yes, I know it doesn't have to be a dirty word, but uh does anyone seriously see that word and think, "ah, a sudden and brief utterance"?
2. Horrendous, irredeemable, vulgar characters: Every. Single. One of them is a terrible, horrible person, and I'm glad this book was written so long ago because that means they're all dead, or would be if they had been real at any rate. Wait. I take it back. The one person who wasn't an asshole was Edgar Linton. You gotta feel for that guy: His wife won't even pretend to try to hold back her affection for Heathcliff - affection that I would say is unmerited since Heathcliff is such a dick, but she's a selfish brat and deserves nothing but the worst.
3. Similarly, unlovable objects of affection: It seems our little author Em is a bit confused about what makes males attractive. The perfect romantic lead is definitely not manifested in Heathcliff, who EB likes to imply is "dark and brooding" but is really a "giant asshole," and then Linton Heathcliff is just a pathetic pansy. I would clearly just become a lesbian if I were born into that household...Ellen seemed okay.
4. Plot confusion: Why am I reading this again? Is there some takeaway that I'm missing? As far as I can tell, the book is solely about a couple of dipshits who connive to screw each other over and curse each other's last breath under the guise of insatiable love.
5. Stephenie Meyer likes it. Negative 20 stars.