Book Review by Jennifer Pratt
If you are a book lover like me, then you know it is your literary obligation to read and to know the classics. Such was my thought when I began my endeavor to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Yes, the new couture-inspired design on the cover caught my attention at the bookstore. But it is, after all, considered to perhaps be the most passionately original novel in the English language. I mean, who hasn’t heard of the classic love triangle of Catherine, Mr. Heathcliff, and Edgar Linton?
Catherine is torn between her first love, Mr. Heathcliff, and the more prestigious, educated Edgar Linton. Heathcliff is not of her “upbringing” and has nothing to offer - no education, no money, no position in society. Whereas, Edgar has all of those things and more. But as in so many love stories, we find ourselves rooting for the underdog.
Who didn’t root for the forbidden love of Rose and Jack in Titanic? As if the sophisticated Cal would have stood on the front of the ship and shown Rose how to fly! And who can forget the infamous “No one puts Baby in a corner” line from Dirty Dancing. Didn’t we all want our love to stand up for us like that! Back off daddy. Or the unprecedented love that Noah has for Allie in The Notebook. Their love followed them until the very end. That scene in the end when Noah is trying to get Allie to remember their love...well, it kills me every time I see it. Yes, these are all heart wrenching, pass me a box of tissue, make your eyes hurt from the all of the tears love stories. Wuthering Heights is not one of these stories my friends...
Yes, there is the love triangle. And yes, there is the underdog. And yes, when Heathcliff returns to claim his love, Catherine, after being gone for so many years, we naturally hope she leaves Edgar for Heathcliff. Trust me though when I say you will only be rooting for the underdog, aka Heathcliff, for about two sentences after his return. The remainder of the novel you will want him to be killed off in a torturous war that gets more gruesome and detailed in your mind as the chapters continue.
This story is so dark and perplexing that it makes you wonder what Emily Bronte was thinking when she wrote it. So, of course, I had to find out more about this Emily to understand why on earth she’d write the darkest love story we’ve ever seen. I mean, surely, love has not changed this much since her time in the early 1800’s. Has it? The answer is probably not. My sleuthing led me to her history of growing up with her two sisters in a bleak parsonage under their aunt after their mother and two older sisters died. Okay, rough childhood. Got it. Now everything is coming together.
So, the question begs itself to be asked. Should you read Wuthering Heights if it is as I say and filled with a darkness that will leave you perplexed, confused, and at some points even with a sadness? Of course you should. It is an American Classic and should be read by all. If for anything else other than to appreciate the life we have now. Can you imagine having to marry your cousin? Such was the case in this novel. But nonetheless, Wuthering Heights is about a love that goes through time. Granted Heathcliff led a miserable life leaving little to no inspiration for those reading about it up until the very end when he met his Catherine again. But such is the hope that we are all searching for or believe we have found. Such is love...