Chelsea's Reviews > Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: anti-recs, classic, own, romance, multiples, toswap, 2006, fiction
Recommended for: melodrama enthusiasts
Read in July, 2006

I've tried it three times. I know people are obsessed with it. I hate everyone in the book - and I just can't care about a book where I actually hate the characters.

And, sure, I get the interpretation that as terrible as Heathcliff and Cathy are, it's their love that redeems them, and isn't that romantic.

No.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 127) (127 new)


Crystal thank you! finally someone agrees with me on this book. I read it once, and kept going, thinking, other people like this. surely I'm missing something. No, not really. it was horrible.


Chelsea It's so nice to know there are others out there! This one drove me crazy because I'm usually a fan of the classic romances - P and P, Jane Eyre, etc - but I just wanted to hurt people each time I tried this one.

I don't know why I didn't see this comment until just now...


The Library Lady I feel the same way. Love Jane Eyre, loathe this one. Does this mean I'd have liked Charlotte but not Emily? :)


Crystal according to Kiersey, Emily had the same personality type as me (I didn't see any mention of Charlotte.). that was a strange bit of information. Both Charlotte and Emily had a bleak outlook--why is Emily's book so much less pleasant? it seems she had less hope. I love Jane Eyre too. Don't read Charlotte Brown, though, based partially on a Charlotte Bronte manuscript--that one was as awful as Wuthering Heights, I think.


Chelsea I'd never put that much thought into why the two sisters' books turned out so differently, and now I'm tempted to go hunt down a biography.

I've found that pretty much all attempts to finish an unfinished classic don't end well. They're up there with the retellings and sequels to classics - they sound like a lot of fun, but mostly they're frustrating.


Crystal I hate more than anything else authors who try to follow up Pride and Prejudice. Other Jane Austen "sequels" aren't good--but the Darcy ones I've read have been DREADFUL! the only partial manuscript that was finished that I read and liked was Sanditon. that was kinda cute. I couldn't tell where Austen stopped and the other author started.
I think I'd be interested to read a Bronte biography too. I read the little foreward one in my Jane Eyre edition, but that wasn't very thorough.


Chelsea I'm almost completely in agreement on the Pride and Prejudice sequels, except that I've found a very few that were worth the reading. Very few. I have a copy of Sandition around here somewhere, but I think it's the unfinished original.

I just checked my own copy of Jane Eyre, and it has a two page bio of Ms. Charlotte, which doesn't really tell me anything. (It does have, however, commentary on the novel by some other authors, including Virginia Woolf and George Eliot, and (!) letters between William Makepeace Thackeray and Bronte, which I somehow skipped while reading. Very cool.)


message 8: by Kathryn (last edited Aug 23, 2009 07:34PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kathryn What is really horrible about my expirience with this book is the fact that my sister told me over and over and over again NOT to read it, but, like a numbskull I was determined to read it (I really don't know why). This book left a horrible feeling in my gut and I believe I've been scarred for life. I don't know why or how people can like such a nasty book. I did learn a good lesson from it, which is- Never read a book my sister says is horrible.


Elizabeth matherne i am glad i am not the only one who feels this way. i am almost finished reading it the first time and i felt that if i forced myself to finish it it would get better but i just seem to get more disappointed.



message 10: by Amber (new) - rated it 1 star

Amber I agree with you. I now understand why everyone I know cringes when I mention the book! I will finish it though. I just hate to leave a book unfinished.


Emily I definitely understand why you feel this way. I hate the characters too, and I don't feel like Heathcliff and Cathy's love redeems them at all. But strangely enough, I loved the book anyway. :) I think it's because I don't consider this book a romance. Out of all the things it's about, true love isn't one of them. So I saw different things in the story than I think most people do.


message 12: by Ivy (new) - added it

Ivy I completely agree! The characters are dreadful. Not only were they self-centered, ridiculous, and frustrating, but the so called 'love story' was anything BUT romantic.
The only reason I don't regret reading it is because afterward, I was able to live through all the books my teacher practically force-fed to us in the following weeks(including bores like Beowulf, the Odyssey, and the Canterbury Tales). Wuthering Heights was torturous to finish (actually, the entirety of it was torturous....), I cringed with each newly turned page, and needless to say, I never plan on rereading it. Ever.


message 13: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara First let me say that I love this book (even though I do find the narration frustrating). After reading your review (and some of its comments), I have to disagree about something you said: maybe some people argue that Heathcliff and Cathy are redeemed by their love, but i think that is neither the point of the story nor even something that the author was trying to convey. It just made me flinch a little when i read your line mocking this supposed redemption because the author never tries to deceive the reader by suggesting that we are reading a love story.

I completely understand if you prefer books with a purer romantic story between well-intentioned characters, but it sounds like you are faulting the author because you think she failed in trying to write a romance. On the contrary, she succeeded in writing a story about obsession and revenge that defied convention because it is innocently disguised, upon first glance, as a love story. In fact, I read an interpretation of the book that suggests that the author was almost daring the reader to consider Heathcliff a romantic hero because no matter how evil his deeds, the reader wants to hold on to the notion that he will redeem himself by the end of the novel.

Therefore, it is not the author who betrays us with some "bait and switch"; it is our assumptions about literature that, even while they contradict the words on the page, make us stubbornly believe that this will be a romantic story with good, or at least redeemable, characters, hence proving that expectations can be more powerful than reality (which could be considered a theme of the book).

Of course that's just my interpretation but I thought I'd add the only opposing argument here lol...


message 14: by Leslie (last edited Aug 13, 2012 03:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leslie Tara wrote: "First let me say that I love this book (even though I do find the narration frustrating). After reading your review (and some of its comments), I have to disagree about something you said: maybe so..."

I love your comment, Tara, and agree completely, so you're not the only opposing view. I suppose it's people's right to not like something for not being what they thought it should be, but if that happens to me I think it's my problem, not the author's.

I find it interesting that a lot of people here say they like Jane Eyre, but that's one that does claim to be a love story, and after several readings I've come to the conclusion that Rochester's "love" for Jane is kind of a sick thing, at least before their aborted wedding and her flight. Look how he torments her, and then after the truth is revealed and she says that she can't remain at Thornfield, he just figures they'll go off to Europe and she can be his mistress there. He doesn't know or understand her in the least, either then or before, when he tried to get her to marry him under false pretenses. At least Cathy and Heathcliff are under no illusions about each other.

(added) Well, Tara - it looks like we're talking to each other in a vacuum here (e.g., comments like "I agree with everyone here"). No one appears even willing to consider a different viewpoint, or even respond to my comments about Jane Eyre. Incidentally, I'd be willing to bet a lot of them just love Twilight, which is billed as a great love story, but sounds to me like it's about a really sick, codependent, abusive relationship.


Colleen Holy crap I agree with you! My english teacher called it "one of the greatest love stories in literature" and I think it's the best example of a book needing Dr.Phil or Dr.Drew to randomly show up for some therapy...


message 16: by E.E. (last edited Mar 17, 2010 01:21PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

E.E. Blake I'm so glad I'm not the only one who hates everyone in this book.

I really don't see the appeal of the manuscript. If I want to see girls with dreadful personalities whine and mope about wanting to commit adultery with "The Bad Boy", I'd go back to high school.

I'm finding myself lost in the narrative, so I just keep speed-reading. Good sense tells me that I should just PUT THE BOOK DOWN ... but I have a terrible compulsion to finish most things I start.


Alison Killilea I honestly thought I was going to hate it...but it turned out to be okay. But as you said, yes, all the characters were bloody annoying...especially Heathcliff.


Chevelle AMEN TO THAT! :O)


Denise I'll go you one step further, I not only HATED every main character in the book but I also hated the two narrators (Nellie and Lockwood).


message 20: by Liz (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liz Tara wrote: "First let me say that I love this book (even though I do find the narration frustrating). After reading your review (and some of its comments), I have to disagree about something you said: maybe so..."

I completely agree with your comment. I think the author of this review missed something. Wuthering Heights is NOT a love story.


message 21: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy I can completely understand why people don't like Wuthering Heights. I liked it when I first read it, but I still can't understand how or why that was.

If anyone had described it to me beforehand I probably would have never read it. If I were to read it today, I suspect I wouldn't like it. I think it was just so different from other novels of its time with all their goody-goody characters. I usually hate characters with arrogant/cruel personalities, but to me these were interesting.


Trista It took me months to finish this book. I would start reading it, get unbelievably frustrated by how much I disliked EVERYTHING about the novel, put it down for a couple weeks, and then pick up where I left off. I had heard so many people rave about this book, and given that it was a classic I felt I should read it, though the plot never really intrigued me at all. I'm glad I made it to the end of the book, as now I can say I've read it and can honestly say I hate it. I don't normally hate books, but this one was right up there with "The Stone Angel" by Margaret Laurence. "Wuthering Heights" was way too complicated, the narration style was awful, and the characters had almost NO redeeming qualities. I'm glad I'm not the only one who dislikes this book!


message 23: by Dixie (new) - rated it 1 star

Dixie You articulated my feelings towards this book perfectly.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Tara wrote: "First let me say that I love this book (even though I do find the narration frustrating). After reading your review (and some of its comments), I have to disagree about something you said: maybe so..."

I think you are right: I completely agree with everyone here that Heathcliff (and, for that matter, Kathy) were not likable. In fact, they are just about anything but. However, as you said, they were not supposed to be liked. This is horrible as a romance (which it isn't) but is compelling as a story of jealousy, hatred, obession and revenge (which it is). Great opposing argument!


Shaun I loved this book. I don't mind that you hate it, but I would like to say that this book really has nothing to do with love's redeeming factors. Trust me, Heathcliff and Catherine are not redeemed, and there is nothing romantic about their story.


Melanie I trid to read this twice. The third time I had to read it for a class. I did not like the story. Cathy was a spoiled brat. Heathcliff, I did feel sorry for him at first. When he was older I hated him. I think Emily Bronte did a great job making us feel for the characters. I do remember my prof say that some people think that Emily had writers block and had a hard time starting the story. They think someone started it for her and she finished it. That is why the narrator changes and the style is different.


message 27: by My (new) - rated it 2 stars

My Le Lan Oh thank god I thought I was the only one. I hate almost everyone in this book!!


Teresa I agree the characters are not very likeable however, I'm still intrigued to read to the end lol!


message 29: by Jeanna (new)

Jeanna If I could have "liked" this review about a gazillion more times, I would have. What I really hate is that the book isn't really a romance, but that's the way most people read it these days--as some star-crossed love story. When in reality almost no one in this book is someone you should ever fall in love with. Blech.


Nicole I'm so glad I'm not alone! I don't care if it's a classic; I hate everyone in it and feel the book as a whole has no redeeming qualities.


Jezyka The biggest downfall of this novel is people thinks its a romance, which it definatly isn't. I started under that same assumption. I agree, the characters are extremely dislikable. I put it down half way through like "are you kidding me" I did finish it, and did end up enjoying it. The depth of everyone's emotions are riveting. I found it interesting that she would write such raw characters without sugar coating anything. The over all feel of the books is quite depressing though. The funniest thing I find about it though is when people actually adore Heathcliff, seriously? he hung a puppy for goodness sake!


Pilar Guerrero Not as obsessed as they are with Mr. Darcy in P&P....

This book is simply an agony. And yet, is a must... JBC!


message 33: by Laura (new) - rated it 1 star

Laura A must? For me, it was a must not!
Chelsea, I would have liked to hit the "LIKE" button 3 times on your review because it totally expresses my sentiments.


message 34: by Kate (new)

Kate I so agree, this book is not for me. I have read it, seen television adaptations and a stage production in Harrogate, a very good one to but...I dislike the characters intensely and find not one redeeming feature in any of them. Loving the part of the country the book is placed in it reflects only the dark low sky days we all find oppressive not the glorious clear blue never ending blue with the perfume of heather in the air. It stays on the back of my shelf!


message 35: by Mandy (new) - rated it 1 star

Mandy I totally agree with this review and with Crystal's comment. As I put this book down and picked it up again over the course of two days I kept wondering if there was something wrong with me! Was I missing something that everyone else was able to see? I just can't get through it, no matter how hard I try.


Polly I am so relieved to read that I am not the only one who really does not like this book.........I no longer feel ashamed!


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

This novel is not romantic in the sense that it's a sweet love story. I felt that it was a tragic love story about two people who were meant to be together but couldn't, so they slowly decayed inside. Their horrible personalities shows what they turned into by not being able to live life with their other half. I know I sound cheesy but That is how I saw it:/ lol


message 38: by Leslie (last edited Aug 13, 2012 03:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Leslie Liz wrote: "Tara wrote: "First let me say that I love this book (even though I do find the narration frustrating). After reading your review (and some of its comments), I have to disagree about something you s..."

That was my reaction. Say you don't like something - fine - but don't whine that it's no good because it's not what you (or your misguided English teacher) had decided in advance that it should be.


Lindis I do not find any redeeming features of either Heathcliff or Cathy.....or anyone else for that matter


message 40: by Liz (new) - rated it 1 star

Liz Toth Well said! I didn't even give it a second chance. But good for you for trying three times!


Jennifer Humphreys Leslie and Tara, I hear you! I think maybe what I mean when I say I agree with both sides is, I do actually despie Catherine and Heathcliff, and I do need to like the characters in a book to truly love it, but I also find myself fascinated by the psychological depth and complexity of these characters. They are so much more lifelike and three-dimensional than many characters from 19th-century fiction, and for that reason, I keep reading with 'bated breath. It's a book where putting it down is like opening a window or turning on a light!


Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ There's no love in this book. I think that's a huge problem people have with it. Twilight has painted it as a lover story. It isn't. It's not tragic. It's not romantic. It's a senseless revenge story about a obsessive man whom takes his anger out on innocent children -- namely his sickly son and Cathy's daughter (whom he probably thinks killed Cathy.)


message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 12, 2012 01:23PM) (new)

Alisi wrote: "There's no love in this book. I think that's a huge problem people have with it. Twilight has painted it as a lover story. It isn't. It's not tragic. It's not romantic. It's a senseless revenge sto..."

I think that there is love. However, it has been hidden behind revenge and pain to the point that it has been distorted. But it was there from the beginning....


Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ Gattaca wrote: I think that there is love. However, it has been hidden behind revenge and pain to the point that it has been distorted. But it was there from the beginning.... "

No offense but I disagree. Cathy could've married him before he left and she could've waited for him to return to her. I'll grant that they had a bond growing up (and perhaps that breed love) but I think, given Heathcliff's circumstances, that the relationship rolled over into obsession.

What he did to Cathy's daughter (who was a spitting image of Cathy) was horrible. What he did to his own son was even worse. I think the reason why her daughter looked so very much like her was to drill into the reader that he wanted to destroy Cathy too. Not all spurned lovers decide to murder two families and claim all their worldly possession because he or she was dumped.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the book well enough. It just gets to me when people proclaim that this is a classic romance tale as Heathcliff is plotting to kill his own son.


message 45: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 12, 2012 02:53PM) (new)

Alisi wrote: "Gattaca wrote: I think that there is love. However, it has been hidden behind revenge and pain to the point that it has been distorted. But it was there from the beginning.... "

No offense but I d..."


I never said this novel is a classic romantic tale about two lovebirds. I said that there was always love between Cathy and Heathcliff. There is a difference in my opinion.

This novel is not black and white where just because Cathy did not wait for him automatically makes it that she does not love him.

The main reason behind the darkness behind this novel was that they could not be together and hence, eveything symbolically got destroyed when their relationship headed for dooms dale. They should have ended up together but due to unfortunate situations, they didn't. Heathcliff held such pain and bitterness that it caused him to lose reality, the same could be said for Cathy.

It was never just a bond. A bond is too weak to describe their childhood together and even their adulthood relationship.

I read this novel more symbolically and metaphorically than actual reality. However, people have lost their mind in real life when they could not end up with their soulmate. Which is what Heathcliff and Cathy were.....are...


Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ I never said this novel is a classic romantic tale about two lovebirds.

I know. I meant that in general, not to you specifically. I should've been more clear on that.

This novel is not black and white where just because Cathy did not wait for him automatically makes it that she does not love him.

She wasn't forced into the marriage. She stayed at the manor to recover from a dog bite and she decided to marry Edward. If all it takes is a plush room to change her feelings, than I'm sorry but that isn't soul mate material to me. I don't doubt she had feelings for him but it wasn't deep.

But yeah. I agree with what you said about Heathcliff but Cathy...


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

Alisi wrote: "I never said this novel is a classic romantic tale about two lovebirds.

I know. I meant that in general, not to you specifically. I should've been more clear on that.

This novel is not black and ..."


"She wasn't forced into the marriage. She stayed at the manor to recover from a dog bite and she decided to marry Edward. If all it takes is a plush room to change her feelings, than I'm sorry but that isn't soul mate material to me. I don't doubt she had feelings for him but it wasn't deep."

She decided to marry Edgar ( Edward from Twillight lol) due to knowing she cannot marry Heathcliff and because it was the proper thing to do, especially during those times. She never felt a dime for him! "owing much to his status, Catherine marries him and not Heathcliff"

She always loved Heathcliff and the feelings never went away, the main reason why she lost her touch with reality and Heathcliff too. I am sorry but their relationship was extremely deep, they were soulmates to me and always will be.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

And it was illegal and shameful to marry the person you grew up with.....


message 49: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 12, 2012 03:38PM) (new)

This is one of the most beautiful quotes I have ever read.....her true feelings for Heathcliff.

" Heaven did not seem to be my home; and I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry that they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights; where I woke sobbing for joy.That will do to explain my secret, as well as the other. I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there, had not brought Heathcliff so low I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire."


Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆ Gattaca wrote: "And it was illegal and shameful to marry the person you grew up with....."

You have sources for this, yes? I find it hard to believe that when most people never left the place of their birth.

I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there, had not brought Heathcliff so low I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now;

This is the key here. That says it all. Heathcliff was "brought low" and now she feels she will be degraded by marrying him. And she did love Edward, or at least start to have feelings. ("My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees.")

She wasn't forced, as you said. They could've fled to Scotland and gotten married. It was done a lot of the time.

I think we have to respectfully disagree here but that's the nice thing about book, right? :) It is a shame she only wrote one before she died, though. That poor family of hers.


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