Next up for the reading challenge I foolishly decided to take on is a classic romance. Really, I just wanted to go with The Courtship of Princess Leia because there is no romance more classic than Han and Leia’s, but sadly that would probably have been cheating. I am actually a romantic at heart, I think. I love a well done rom-com, but the idea of reading one of the “classic romances” filled me with dread. I assumed none would be funny enough or use enough action to divert from the mushy stuff to hold my interest. Thankfully I wound up reading one that deals with the hate that comes from such legendary love, Wuthering Heights.
For those unfamiliar with the premise of Emily Bronte’s only novel, it follows the lives of Heathcliff, Catherine (1) Earnshaw/Linton, Hindley Earnshaw, Edgar Linton, Isabella Linton/Heathcliff, Hareton Earnshaw, Catherine (2) Linton/Heathcliff/Earnshaw, and Linton Heathcliff told by the woman who serves each of them at different times of her life, Nelly Dean, to new tenant at Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Lockwood. Yes, the names are dauntingly confusing, but the book comes with a family tree to help you keep track of everybody. So, Hindley and Catherine’s (1) dad returns with the orphan Heathcliff to be raised alongside them at the titular Wuthering Heights, but their dad likes Heathcliff the most so Hindley regularly torments the little “gypsy.” Eventually Catherine (1) becomes friends the siblings Edgar and Isabella Linton who live at Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley becomes master of the Heights, he and his wife Frances (who dies) have a son (Hareton), Heathcliff becomes more and more oppressed by the new master, and Edgar grows fond of Catherine (1). The thing with that last part is Catherine (1) and Heathcliff are in love. Only problem is Catherine (1) confesses to Nelly that Edgar has proposed and she’s considering accepting since Heathcliff couldn’t give her the life she desires. Heathcliff overhears this bit and vanishes for a few years. He comes back with a whole lot of money and seeks revenge on the people who have wronged him. So…I guess he’s kinda like the Count of Wuthering Heights.
Sounds tragic, right? It sorta is. These people are all jerks, though. Almost every last one. It was hard to feel bad for anything that happened to them because they’re all assholes. Don’t get me wrong, I love revenge stories, and Heathcliff is wonderfully evil. It’s just that he’s kinda not justified in most of what he does. See, after Catherine (1) dies shortly following giving birth to Catherine (2); taking over the Heights when Hindley dies; marrying, beating, and impregnating Isabella (who dies) with Linton (who also dies); and Edgar (who dies) kinda becomes a shell of his former self, Heathcliff decides to take out his revenge on their kids. Again, similar to the OG Count himself Edmond Dantes, but at least Edmond’s a likable dude…sorta. I did still like Heathcliff in that way that you like really dirtbag villains. I was actually a little letdown his revenge ended soon after his death since Catherine (2) and Hareton not only essentially inherit everything, but they also get married and wind up being happy. So much for the evil that men do living after them, huh?
I know I’ve harped on every character’s un-likability, but I did like the ones I was supposed to like and hate the ones I was supposed to hate (I think I did, at least). Also, despite having a confusing genealogy and weird way of telling the story (two unreliable narrators), I did legitimately enjoy this book. I would’ve read it faster if it weren’t for other aspects of my backlog, which continues to grow at a most terrifying rate. If you’re put off by mushy romances, I’d still suggest checking this out since it’s more of a hate story than a love story.
That’ll do it for this entry. Only 48 books to go! Yay? Anyway, up next is a book that became a movie. How will I ever find one of those? Books that have become movies are oh so very rare! What will it be? Stay tuned to find out.