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Sep/Oct 18 Rebecca by du Maurier > Post your Reviews - Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier!

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message 1: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (mirymom) | 4 comments I love this book so much! Recently saw the old film on the big screen too.


message 2: by Sonia (new)

Sonia | 15 comments Earlier this summer, I picked Rebecca off the list when I won a free book at my library. How awesome is that? Can’t wait to start reading it!


message 3: by Lucy (new)

Lucy | 39 comments I found this book to be amazing. You get very drawn into the narrator's obsession with Rebecca and get to see the unnamed narrator progress throughout the novel. I found the narrator really relatable- she struggles with low self-esteem and is highly critical of herself- however, I found she was brave for the situation she is stuck in. This book does a great service at giving 3 women their own voice and giving them flaws. I don't want to give too much away but I hope others enjoy the book as much as I do!


message 4: by Jane (new)

Jane | 1 comments I read this book so long ago but always consider it one of my top 25 favorites. And I found Mrs. Danvers - both in the book and in the movie - to be one of the scariest villains ever!


message 5: by Ambre (new)

Ambre (ambredawn) | 4 comments Read this book just this year and I loved it!!!!


message 6: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Miller | 9 comments Kirsty wrote: "I've read Rebecca before but started re-reading it last month after I read an article in The Pool about it. The writer was saying that the book should be given to young girls in schools to help the..."
Awesome tip! I haven't started reading Rebecca yet but I will have to keep this in mind when I start. I am finishing up Periods Gone Public and Jennifer Weiss-Wolf makes a similar point about negative comparisons due to social media. I know it's a much talked about topic but as someone that was obsessed with self-image in high school, it always strikes a note with me.


message 7: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 1 comments I'm reading it for the first time and it is making a really big impression on me. At first, I was very into language and descriptions. I thought it was a little too romantic and maybe it could be better for me to read it while I was a little younger. Now I'm half through and I don't think so anymore. Probably, if I was younger, I could feel it like romantic story about love and betrayal. But now I see incredible psychology of a main character. I work now with my own shame trauma and it is really important to me to read this story now. For a very long time I was in denial of this problem. And now when I am aware of it it's quite painful to have a look from outside on a behavior like this. How childhood trauma affect this girl to behave like this and be quite cruel to herself and also how childish and egoistic is this idea that everybody sees how miserable she is. I can see now how she is doing to herself.


message 8: by Tea (new)

Tea (115tea) | 1 comments I bought this three days ago and finished yesterday, purely because it was such a good read. Rebecca has made it's way into my list of favourite books. I think it's particularly interesting to read as a 20 year old since the main character is supposedly under 21 (she mentioned something about a way of crying that doesn't happen over that age). The writing really captures what it is to be in this stage of life and how one can feel young and old at the same time. I felt very young as the reader, even though I don't typically feel that way.


message 9: by Sue (new)

Sue Dix | 9 comments I read this book in November 2016. Here is my review:

"I can't believe that I had never read this book. I think I was put off by thinking that it was more of a romance novel than a pseudo ghost story/gothic novel. Although there isn't an actual ghost, there is an overbearing presence and there are enough chilling scenes to make you shiver. There is a lot of psychological drama and the no name narrator is necessarily intimidated by her circumstances. Loved it."

Based on what I had written, I might have to go back and re-read it, now. It is an excellent choice for the fall months.


message 10: by Debra (new)

Debra | 20 comments It will be interesting to read this again, at a more informed age, and to assess how it fits into the genre of feminist writings we’ve benn following in this group.


message 11: by Despina (new)

Despina | 2 comments I just finished reading Rebecca and I loved it! I thought I had the story figured out, then towards the end in a span of 3 chapters, was an incredible plot twist! The ending though is a little off putting. It makes me wonder what will happen next. Definitely should recommend this book to other people.


message 12: by Vitalia (new)

Vitalia Strait (vsobaka05) | 2 comments This is one of my favorite books, if not my favorite, ever! I'm so excited to read it with the book club!


message 13: by Korri (new)

Korri | 3 comments I’m on chapter seven and I’ve watched enough true crime shows to know what probably happened with Max and Rebecca but people keep saying there’s a plot twist so I’m hoping to be surprised.


Briney (Taylor's Version) Absolutely adored this book! I'm generally fairly good at predicting plots but this book's twist had my eyes trying to read faster than my brain could comprehend. So happy it got selected.


message 15: by Molly (new)

Molly Ringle (molly_ringle) I've always loved this one, and it made perfect sense that I'd love it once someone pointed out that it was basically Jane Eyre retold--which is another of my favorites. :) Same Gothic atmosphere, beautiful language, unsettling yet romantic mood.


message 16: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 5 comments I devoured over 200 pages in one sitting yesterday and had to drag myself away. I felt that the start was a bit slow but now I’m utterly hooked. Here’s to finishing the second half today! 😆


message 17: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Miller | 9 comments My copy just came in at the library! Can't wait to get started this weekend.


message 18: by Gaëlle (new)

Gaëlle Coulm (gaelle_c) | 1 comments Un livre parfait, qui m'a tenu en haleine jusqu'à la fin. A chaque fois que je commençais à sortir un peu de l'histoire, surtout au début, quelque chose me rattrapai pile au bon moment. L'écriture est fine et riche, me forçant quelques fois à rechercher des synonymes. Je n'avais jamais rien lu de cet auteur, d'autres titres à recommander ?


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Gaëlle wrote: "Un livre parfait, qui m'a tenu en haleine jusqu'à la fin. A chaque fois que je commençais à sortir un peu de l'histoire, surtout au début, quelque chose me rattrapai pile au bon moment. L'écriture ..."

Bonjour! :)
Katelyn a très soigneusement créer un sujet à ce propos:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

En feuilletant les quelques titres de la liste vous pourrez voir que "My Cousin Rachel" et "Jamaica Inn" ont eux aussi été écrit de la plume de Daphne du Maurier. Peut-être qu'un de ces ouvrages fera votre bonheur :)

Bonne lecture! ;)


message 20: by Passing Places (new)

Passing Places | 3 comments I just finished Rebecca and very much enjoyed it. It was creepy and paranoid and beautifully written!

Here is an article written by Olivia Laing which I found very informative after having finished the novel:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


Erin (thatwritergirl) | 37 comments This book was a pleasant surprise! I watched the movie as a teenager and then forgot all about it. While the book was written in the 1930s, there are plenty of topics that are relevant today. Overall a great read that stands the test of time.


message 22: by Christy (new)

Christy (crispyreads) | 1 comments I randomly picked to buy this book a few years ago from a list a teacher gave me, and now it is one of my favourite books! Although I think the pace dragged a bit in the middle (since the climax is towards the end), but once it gets to that part it is really jaw-dropping good. I loved the film of it as well. I've seen some analysis about possible lesbian undertones from Mrs. Danvers and I thought that was really interesting. Great read!


message 23: by Louella (new)

Louella Beltran (browneyedella) | 1 comments Wow! The comments are motivating. I'll be reading it now! :) thanks, ladies!


message 24: by Mare (new)

Mare GB I belive that character of Mrs. Danvers is innovative and original at that period of time (1938.).
I enjoyed reading this novell.
I like the character of a new mrs. de Winter who is growing up from child to adult women.


message 25: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1091 comments Mod
A tale of envy most bitter and jealosy most potent.

I also cringed at the inexperience and nativity du Maurier write effortlessly. Quite an up down world with side comments and intrigue


message 26: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (laurenmichbrock) | 1 comments Hi ladies!

My name is Wren, and I’ve been wanting to join the OSS bookclub since it started, but I have terrible follow-through skills when it comes to my own interests... However, I did see that the book selection was Rebecca for September and October, and wanted to leave a little note because I absolutely loved that book. My friend, Ashley, lent it to me last year, and I took it everywhere with me. I read most of the book while in the mountains with family. There was this beautiful balcony that overlooked the Smokies and I would sit outside in one of the rocking chairs with a glass of wine and read, and it was so nice (once the neighboring cabin full of drunken college students finally departed, that is). My friend and I used to joke so much about that ending, because it was so abrupt and violent and happened with a satisfying malice, even though the person responsible for the way the ending unfolds (sorry, I know I’m being incredibly vague but I don’t want to spoil anything...) is kind of the worst. We appreciated her loyalty and spirit, however. Anyway, I know this isn’t so much a review as it is a random gushing of bookish emotions. I am really going to try to make an effort (with the most passive-aggressive promise possible) to read the next book that’s selected and participate in this amazing community. I hope everyone is enjoying Rebecca! Excellent choice!

Wren


message 27: by Maura (new)

Maura | 1 comments There are many elements that I love about this book. Each character is so complex and well developed. Du Maurier does an excellent job in setting a haunting and suspenseful tone throughout the entire book. Even after I finished reading it I still could not get her story out of my mind.
I had seen the movie a few years ago but this was my first time reading the book and I still found myself on the edge of my seat with each plot twist.
With out giving to much away I do think my favorite part about the book were the themes Daphne Du Maurier crafted. The universal theme about “ putting on a disguise,“ for the world was one in particular.
As Frank Crawley says “ It’s a universal instinct of the human species, isn’t it, that desire to dress up in some sort of disguise.”
This element is evident in each of the main characters but none so prominently as Rebecca herself. She truly was a mystery to everyone even the ones that claimed to be close to her. Which is a sad tragedy in and of itself. Rebecca ‘s desire to keep up the perfect persona lingered years after she was gone.
This element of putting on a disguise of the world is intriguing. It was something I think every person does. Although this was written in 1938 this idea is still relevant today. Only instead of masked balls we use social media to try and portray our best selves.
Another element I loved was the irony professed by Colonel Julyan “ out of sight out of mind. If people aren’t there to be talked about the talk dies. It’s the way of the world. “ Granted he was talking about Favell but I believe Du Maurier used it for a greater piece to the story. No matter what happens that idea does not work, it especially can’t be said for Rebecca herself.
For me at least that quote seemed to tie both the story and her themes together. The whole story is filled with Rebecca’s haunting presence. Everything she had ever done lingered in the protagonist’s mind. Rebecca may have been gone but she haunted every aspect of Manderley. To the reader like myself I think the Colonel’s quote helped purvey the opposite meaning. Even if you are gone your presence and mark will still be known to the ones you leave behind.
All in all, I believe this book was an amazing haunting read and is one for the ages.


message 28: by Rida (new)

Rida Imran  (ridaimran) | 22 comments When I first read this book. I fell in love with it's beautiful writing and I didn't exactly have any complains. But after a while I realised that it had some very misogynistic themes. Idk our unnamed protagonist's life starts revolving around Maxim, everything she feels is dominated by him. She lives under the shadow of his dead wife.

Basically our protagonist would've made a lovely wife for misogynists folks out there. She does everything for Maxim, doesn't question his murder of his previous wife, thinks it's okay he got away with it. And I felt like when in the end he finally tells her that he loves her, its manipulative. He finally does what she's always wanted along with telling her he's a murderer.

It's also disgusting how Rebecca's murder is normalised because she was adulterous.


message 29: by Lo (new)

Lo (lo_oneill) | 1 comments I will admit that I spent probably too many chapters re-reading pages because I was convinced that I had missed a part where the narrators name was mentioned. I have now realized my mistake in that and instead think that the withholding of the name of the main character was a wonderful and genius literary tool. It really blew my mind the more I thought about the fact that we never learn the name of the narrator, it completely made her a ghost, a non-person that only filled the role that Maxim needed her to – the wife – she never became her own person even when she grew into herself in the second half of the book she never quite reached completeness.

Rebecca is a masterclass in how to develop characters and build a world that envelopes the reader. I felt everything that the narrator was feeling, I could hear the roar of the sea lapping against the shore and "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

By the time that I finished this novel I was equally in awe and mad at myself for having not picked this up sooner. Maybe it is time I started to take a look at more classics, after all, they must have endured for a reason.

I completely agree with Rida about the normalizing of Rebecca's death.


message 30: by Vicki (new)

Vicki (dinovix26) | 1 comments Hello! This was my first read as part of Our Shared Shelves, and I enjoyed it immensely. The language is so wonderfully descriptive and precise. Du Maurier is a poet and novelist of great skill. I read the entire book in two days. Once I reached halfway, it was almost impossible to put it down. The vivid imagery and solid character work had me playing out the scenes in my mind. The tragedy and mystery of Rebecca's death had me guessing until the very last minute. I thought it also an appropriate time to revive this title, given all of the changing paradigms regarding gender, sexuality, and patriarchal dominance in society. I could no longer regard the narrator as an ally because of her reckless and hopeless devotion to her husband. I sympathized for her, and I was frustrated by her, yet I couldn't idly accept Rebecca as the rightful protagonist either. It's truly refreshing to read a book and feel so many different emotions, and to argue so many sides of important philosophical and behavioral questions. Worth the read!


message 31: by Ilham (new)

Ilham Alam (ilhamalam) | 3 comments I’ll be the outlier here and say that I didn’t adore “Rebecca”. I sympathize or identify with any of the characters, maybe Frank Crawley and Frith, would be the only ones. I liked the book though.

To be honest, I wish we had seen more of Rebecca, to really convince me that she, not our nameless narrator, was the alive woman. The unforgettable woman. The indomitable, strong willed woman. I just kept thinking, obviously, Rebecca died less than a year before and under mysterious circumstances, she was beloved within Kerrith for her renowned improvements on Manderly and her parties and, besides, in a small village like that, Manderly and it’s people would loom large. So was it anything to do with Rebecca’s personality that makes her indelible OR the fact where she was positioned within the largely isolated village society?

But I can see why this book is the OSS pick. It’s theme of marriage and it’s connection to a woman’s identity at a time when a “woman’s place” was at home, is a theme that can be talked about ad-nauseum in any female literary circle. This is an age-old discussion on woman’s identity and it’s connection on how she “reflects” on her man, since the time of the mythic Story of Eve supposedly being made from Adam’s rib for the sole purpose of being a companion to a man. “Rebecca” can be looked at as an Adam and Eve Story, since Max believes that Rebecca’s actions reflect directly on him and spreads evil upon his paradise, Manderly. Hence, he punishes her by killing her and not even giving her a Christian burial.

The prose is gorgeous though. Manderly itself became a living and breathing character to me.


message 32: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra Aplin | 6 comments Couldn't put this down, and I'm not usually a fan of classics. The writing was hypnotic and gorgeous. Like others, I am now going to track down the old movie. Has a Hitchcock feel about it. Interesting point that someone made earlier about this possibly being plagiarised by a South American writer, and sad that de Maurier got away with it so easily.


message 33: by Vivian (new)

Vivian Fonger (vivian_fonger) I just finished reading Rebecca. I love the writing and second half of the story. I just cannot say I love or like this book because I cannot relate to the first person narrator. The “narrator” vs me are two polar opposite human beings. Does anyone have the same feeling like I am when u r reading this book? I want to like/love this book but I just can’t.


message 34: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 5 comments I really found the narrator sort of an 'unreliable' narrator, she didn't really know all the nuances of what was going on, so she was making things up as she went along. Her young age and naivete make for dramatic conclusions, but this is what created a lot of the more morbid atmosphere of the novel.


Ángela's Bookcase (angelasbookcase) | 3 comments I'd read this book as a student of English and to be honest had no faith in it lol I've never been a fan of romantic novels or even (don't kill me) romantic comedies. But as soon as I'd started reading it I couldn't put it down... A few years later I got to read it to adult students I had. Now reading it for the third time, I still find it so gripping I can't put it down...


message 36: by Unicorn (new)

Unicorn  (unicornreader) I don't usually enjoy classic novels because I find them unrelatable and just...boring. But Rebecca wasn't like that. Well, it isn't relatable but it is anything but boring. Maurier does an excellent job at creating this creepy and eerie atmosphere and I really like how she hasn't given the narrator a name which further shows that she is living in Rebecca's shadow (Rebecca is her husband's late wife).

Although the book itself is not feminist, I have marked it under my feminist shelf because gender roles and expectations are clearly defined throughout the novel with the males being the most powerful and kind of all-knowing and the females just being clueless housewives. This is further indicated by Mrs. de Winter's erratic thoughts. She has a ton of internal monologues that are just exaggerated. Although they are a plot device to emphasise her youth and childish nature, I think it also shows how immature (a woman) she is in comparison to her very mature and knowledgable husband (a man). One scene in the novel strikes me the most. Maxim (AKA Mr. de Winter) tells Mrs. de Winter that she looks as though she has thoughts that are not "the right sort of knowledge" when she was fantasizing about being a good and mature housewife:

"Listen, my sweet. When you were a little girl, were you ever forbidden to read certain books, and did your father put those books under lock and key?"
"yes" I said.
"Well, then. A husband is not so very different from a father after all. There is a certain type of knowledge I prefer you not to have. It's better kept under lock and key...."

I think these quotes highlight how women are always treated like children in society (it is still like this where I live). It also shows how men have control over our thought and opinion they get to censor what we see and know and what we are not allowed to know. This is why I enjoyed the book in addition to the creepy elements; there are a lot of things in there that show how women were treated and their role in society at the time.


message 37: by Catharine (new)

Catharine | 3 comments I enjoyed the book. Some thoughts-

The ramblings of an insecure woman I can relate to. It grew old to hear the same line of thinking over and over but that is what our minds do. It helped me pay more attention to my own thinking.

The fact that the narrator remained nameless made the story more sad for me but it did invite me to put myself in the narrator’s shoes - watch judgements. As women, we need to lift each other up as much as possible as messages received from society can run deep.

In a way the story reflected two extremes the way I saw it - the power and strength of a woman completely self absorbed who lived without regard and the helplessness and selflessness of a woman completely defined by/through others and society. Both extremes lead to undesired consequences. The middle road is needed for a firmly rooted sense of self with the compassion of the narrator coupled with the empowerment of Rebecca.

I loved the ending but have not decided if the epilogue at the beginning of the story is really necessary.

I will and already have recommended this book to others. Thank you for introducing this book to me.


message 38: by Eliška (last edited Oct 01, 2018 12:30AM) (new)

Eliška Divišová | 1 comments I really like the writing style, arrangement of words, sometimes very poetry-like. Hovewer, I think of the storyline to be rather dull and very predictable. I guessed right like four times what is going to happen next! Also, the heroine is not very a character I could relate to. Sometimes I can find myself daydreaming like her, but her shyness and naivity is simply too much to believe even for insecure woman like me.
Also I expected more malicity from Mrs. Danvers, following all the acclamation this character has recieved, but I was rather sorry for her all the time.
I guess that “red library” is just not my cup of tea. I expected more of a gothic darkness in this romance. I think Agatha Christie’s novels will do better job than Rebecca.


message 39: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tracyisreading) This is one of my absolute favorite books of all time! Now I might have to throw it back on my audio. The narration by Anna Massey is excellent :-)


message 40: by Felicia (new)

Felicia (byefelicia08) One of my favs of all time.

Wow, what an absorbing experience! A true gothic romance, it's one of those books you just fall into and luxuriate. The tension in it is almost physical, smothering at times. It builds and builds so painfully perfect, I was sure my chest would explode before I got to the end. Never before have I come across a book that never tells you the main characters age...what she looks like...her backstory... NOT EVEN HER FRIGGIN NAME! But because of the exquisite prose you get to know her so intimately, I was completely absorbed in her thoughts, what she sees and feels. THIS is what a good book does to you, for people that don't read I almost feel sorry for you for I wouldn't give up this feeling for anything. I've found out that Alfred Hitchcock made a movie of this book and I can't think of a better pairing, this story was made for the Hitchcock touch. I can't wait to see his translation, maybe it will help me curb the nagging need to reread the book immediately! It's been a long time since I've added a book to my favorites of all time and this story has taken it's spot, hell, it deserves it's own shelf.


message 41: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 80 comments Unicorn wrote: "Although the book itself is not feminist, I have marked it under my feminist shelf because gender roles and expectations are clearly defined throughout the novel with the males being the most powerful and kind of all-knowing and the females just being clueless housewives. This is further indicated by Mrs. de Winter's erratic thoughts. She has a ton of internal monologues that are just exaggerated. Although they are a plot device to emphasise her youth and childish nature, I think it also shows how immature (a woman) she is in comparison to her very mature and knowledgable husband (a man). One scene in the novel strikes me the most. Maxim (AKA Mr. de Winter) tells Mrs. de Winter that she looks as though she has thoughts that are not "the right sort of knowledge" when she was fantasizing about being a good and mature housewife:

"Listen, my sweet. When you were a little girl, were you ever forbidden to read certain books, and did your father put those books under lock and key?"
"yes" I said.
"Well, then. A husband is not so very different from a father after all. There is a certain type of knowledge I prefer you not to have. It's better kept under lock and key....""


I totally agree on that. After I read that quote, I couldn't help but thinking about how absolutely ridiculous that is nowadays, and how is gender role really marked in those sentences. These are the type of thoughts that should be erradicated. A husband is not like a father who HAS TO take care of his wife, but an equal partner.

And although we couldn't really get to know Rebecca, we could grasp that she wasn't the typical woman of the time in yuxtaposition of the main character, who was actually trying to fit in the assigned role she thought she had in the society. There were so many times in the story that I actually kept yelling at the main character: "Come on! You can't be THAT naïve!"


message 42: by Jeanelle (new)

Jeanelle Morales | 4 comments I’m not completely satisfied with this book. The beginning was extremely slow and a little difficult to read. It finally started to pick up towards the middle and then ended abruptly for me. I was hoping for a few more chapters.

I couldn’t relate to the narrator, in fact, she annoyed me. I think I would’ve preferred to read this in Rebecca’s point of view, or even through Mrs Danvers point of view would be interesting.

Overall, it’s not a terrible book and I can see why it is praised and favored by many.


message 43: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Passing Places wrote: "I just finished Rebecca and very much enjoyed it. It was creepy and paranoid and beautifully written!

Here is an article written by Olivia Laing which I found very informative after having finish..."


(view spoiler)

Thanks for linking to the article. Knowing now that the author was apparently very aware of these issues in her tale I might try and pick it up again.

The writing is quaint, even if the story is not to me.


message 44: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (wyrdwomansage) | 2 comments Jeanelle wrote: "I’m not completely satisfied with this book. The beginning was extremely slow and a little difficult to read. It finally started to pick up towards the middle and then ended abruptly for me. I was ..."
Jeanelle, there is a book written from Rebecca's point of view. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of it because I don't keep a reading journal. It might have a title like, The First Mrs. de Winter, but I really don't remember. I thought it was interesting because you get to see why Rebecca displays sociopathic tendencies and you understand why she makes the choices she does. I wish I could be more helpful, but if you're interested you can do a little bit of research.


message 45: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda (wyrdwomansage) | 2 comments This is the second time I've read this book. This time I had a much different perspective about the second Mrs. de Winter. The first time I read the book, I didn't like the protagonist as much as I eventually came to like her during this second reading. At the beginning we see that she is the one who is the more dominant protective spouse. As the book unfolds, we get to see how she becomes strong.

The questions that I asked at the end of each reading were, will Maxim ever heal from the abuse he suffered at the hands of Rebecca? Or will his wife have to play nursemaid his entire life? The book indicates that Maxim is a completely broken man after what happens to Manderlay, as if his entire identity is wrapped up in his family home. I always want him to be stronger. But his emotional disability sets up the kind of role reversal that we see at the beginning of the book. Because the book begins and ends the way it does, it seems unlikely that Maxim will ever recover, and that makes it a very sad book.


message 46: by Emily (new)

Emily | 3 comments Having a hard time trying to get through this book
Wished I was enjoying it as much as everyone else

:(


message 47: by Susan (new)

Susan | 5 comments Emily wrote: "Having a hard time trying to get through this book
Wished I was enjoying it as much as everyone else

:("


Maybe give the movie a try and then go back to the book? The movie is pretty exquisite and a treat if you like Hitchcock!


message 48: by Hayley (new)

Hayley (hayley_likes_lit) | 1 comments I had two thoughts when I finished #Oursharedshelf ‘s Sep/ Oct read, #Rebecca. The first was “wow”. The second was “why on earth was this selected by a feminist book club.”
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I’ve been mulling over this book for a few days now. Daphne du Maurier does not make her stance clear on several conflicts: should we feel sorry for the ‘broken’ Mr de Winter after the events at Manderlay? Who really was Rebecca? To what extent should we sympathise with our unreliable narrator? But what I felt came through very strongly in the book was the critical commentary on gender roles and class privilege.
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This social commentary is, I think, why it was chosen for this book club. For example, we have our narrator, whose entire identity is wrapped around her marital status: her name (or lack thereof), her self-esteem that she places in the hands of her husband, her ethical standards – warped and twisted by her husband’s actions, her desperate battle to be accepted by her husband’s high class society. We have Mr de Winter: misogynistic, infantilizing, controlling, and (perhaps worst of all) immune to the repercussions of these qualities by the protection his social status and gender affords. And of course we have Rebecca, who can only ever exist on either end of a spectrum: beautiful, graceful and generous, or manipulative, evil and selfish. Rebecca’s portrayal is born from the embittered, all-consuming comparison of our narrator, who does not allow Rebecca to be anything other than dichotomous.
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I thought this was a particularly relevant book given the shifting feminist paradigms. Whilst at one point we might have empathized with the narrator’s devotion to her husband and desire to keep up appearances, now we are more inclined to lambast her for her dependency and lack of moral compass. It was a gripping, poetic book and one that I’m sure I’ll get more out of with every re-read.


message 49: by Dawn (new)

Dawn L. | 4 comments Terrific and insightful post. What about adding to the social commentary of the book the futility of the phenomenon that women sometimes feel a need to turn on each other. Either acting out our own oppression or boosting an ego that’s been crushed by society.


message 50: by Megan (new)

Megan Cheang | 97 comments I have finally managed to finish the book. It took me 9 days instead of 3 because I had to read only 3 chapters a day if I wanted to study for mid-terms. This is my fav book to read for Our Shared Shelf so far because it is FICTION and a story. I love reading fictional stories. What makes it better is that it isn't like Jane Austen or Anna Karenina because it's more understandable, and by that I mean, I can understand the world a bit better. Probably because it's closer to the 21st century.
I am sad to say that the narrator irritates me to no end.
1) She is submissive to her husband and employees. (Show some backbone, woman!)
2) When she dares to complain, she takes it back. (Quit being a doormat) She just never speaks her mind. I mean if she has the nerve to follow with a rushed marriage, surely she can ask her husband how he feels about her? They don't have a healthy relationship if she keeps fawning over him and expected to be petted like Jasper.
3) She keeps following others' advice on what Rebecca would have done. (Don't be a copy, be yourself)
The party scene was the worst for my impression of her. She actually refused to go to a party that she partially caused to happen with her agreement that it would be fun. She can't face anything! She never cared about the others' embarassment, only about her own face.
She says she felt useless for not doing any work and I'm thinking: Then ask to do work, better yet, insist on it. I mean she just gave up instantly when they said she didn't have to attack the stamps to the envelopes, and I think, "JUST INSIST ON DOING THE JOB AND QUIT MOPING". She is just so compliant and never learns what she should know or do. She imagines herself a fancy hostess and can't do any of that stuff because she just won't try! And she actually blames her cowardice on breeding? What in the world?
The narrator said she's grown up every now and then, but honestly she hasn't. She just keeps hiding and assumping wrong stuff because she never clarified any matters or tried to see things from others' pov.
And when the confession came out, I can accept her accepting Maxim's crime. What I can't accept is that she honestly still believed he loved Rebecca....this just shows how much of a child she really is.
And when she matured a bit, lost that innocent look, it annoyed me immensely when she switched from being a doormat to a liability. She FAINTED at the inquest when she didn't have to be there, but she just couldn't help going in, and end up making a scene. When will our narrator stop being a damsel in distress? What kind of heroine is she? She's isn't. And at the end, while I applaud her finally deciding to be independent, she is insensitive to Maxim's agitation, needs to be looked after, and still underestimates Mrs Danvers.
Phew...rant on narrator over. Now for the feminist rant.
The thing that struck me was Maxim's grandmother saying that 3 things matter in a wife: brains, beauty and breeding. While I agree with the brains part, I am appalled she thinks that's what makes a perfect wife. Hello, how about kindness, generosity, honesty? Compassion? Honor? Come on, beauty doesn't last forever. It's grating to see the old lady look down on her own gender.
Does anyone find it funny that the narrator actually never saw a portrait of Rebecca? She's always talked about at Manderley but readers aren't truly sure what she looks like except on what others say.
I have to admit, I admire Rebecca. Not her cruelty or wanton behavior, but that she actually led her own life. She never let anyone step over her. Sure she definitely has her flaws, but she's got nerve and I admire her for that.
One passage the struck me about Rebecca was her bargain with Maxim. I admired how she laughed at pulling the hoax and deceiving everyone because she made it sound like a prank. Rebecca herself bluntly pointed out their failed marriage. Normally, one would be upset about that, but Rebecca just moved on and decided to turn it into a game for everyone else instead of mourning her chance at maritial happiness.
While I do like Rebecca more than the narrator, I'm not blind. I know she's a villain and I feel sorry for Maxim and Beatrice and Frank. I was horrified at her cruelty to animals and her disdain for the awed staff. She mocks and betrays others, and in the end, really, she will never know true happiness with the cruel nature of her heart. I sort of feel sorry for her.
Maxim did annoy me, along with his wife (again), when they felt no remorse about the murder. Sure Rebecca was a horrible person, but be better people than she was and show some humanity. Murder is not an answer in this case!


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