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How I changed my mind about Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë

Caution! There’s rambling ahead!

Usually I don't read reviews in order to find out about the plot of a certain novel. I read reviews to find out about the reading experience. This is also why I write reviews. And I really don't think the world needs another plot overview of Wuthering Heights. Instead I want to talk about how my perception of this classic changed and how I came to love what I once found utterly boring.

I don't really know how I could have been so completely unaware of the plot of a classic like Wuthering Heights but apart from the famous names of Heathcliff and Catherine and the fact that it takes place on the wild English moors I knew next to nothing about it. Most of my knowledge comes from that one episode of FRIENDS where Phoebe and Rachel attend a literature class for fun and Rachel never finishes the reading material and tries to cheat her way through it. So yeah, my knowledge was very profound, as you can see.

In 2009 I decided I need to read WH. It’s one of these absolute classics and everyone seems to think it’s really good. So, you know, I gave it a shot. And boy was I disappointed. I dragged myself through the first 50 pages, was bored out of my mind, and called it a day. I’ve always had second thoughts about the fact that I quit. And five years later, in March 2014, I ordered myself a copy of WH. The idea was to make myself read it again – so many people love this book; 98,000 five-star reviews can’t be wrong! (btw, apparently they can – Fifty Shades has 226,000!!) At least in the case of WH they aren’t! Yes, the first 50 pages are a bit tough to get through because you have no idea what’s going on and all these names are thrown at you and the narrator seems to have nothing to do with the actual story.

But once you get past that! The tragedy! The stupidity of the characters! The evilness! I loved it all. Above all, I loved to hate almost every single character. I am not quite sure why this novel is so often treated as a tragic and passionate love story and everyone seems to be pining away about Heathcliff. I hated him with all my heart. Same goes for Catherine. And that brat Linton! But every single one of them got what they deserved in the end. I’ve heard a lot of people state that they can only like a book if at least one character is likeable. WH is not for them. I guess, one can argue that Nelly might be likeable, but I don’t buy it. I loved it because everyone acted terribly selfish and ruthless; and there was absolutely no one to like.

What I am trying to say here is that I went from giving this book one star to giving it five. There is always a right time or mood for a book. And maybe I needed to be in a certain mind set in order to appreciate the beauty that is Wuthering Heights; which makes me think there might be other books out there that I need to reconsider.

I guess this review is not as informative as most people would want it to be but I needed to get this off my chest. Thank you for your kind attention!