Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

6712426Novel: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë | Goodreads
Release Date: October 6, 2009 (first published in 1847)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 stars

When Catherine and Heathcliff’s childhood friendship grows into something so much more, what ensues is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Even as fate conspires against them and passion consumes them, nothing can keep Catherine and Heathcliff apart. Not even death… for their forbidden love is unlike any other.

Emily Brontë’s masterpiece remains as compelling and thrilling as ever. Beautifully presented for a modern teen audience, this is the have edition of a timeless classic.

What a book. And what a JOKE of a book description. The HarperTeen edition of Wuthering Heights, which I admit that I bought freshman year because it looked like Twilight and is a prevalent topic of discussion in Eclipse, sorely misrepresents this classic novel. The tagline on the cover is “Love Never Dies.” But enough about the particular edition I read and on to my thoughts of the work itself.

Overall, I really liked Wuthering Heights.

The first 50 pages or so were really difficult to get through. I was so confused, because I’d had an idea going into the story of what it was going to be, and the detached narrator and characterizations didn’t match up with my preconceptions. I would HIGHLY recommend pulling up a character chart or family tree when you start to read Wuthering Heights, because there are two Catherines, two Heathcliffs, and a Hareton and Hindley that are mentioned and seen often before the reader is fully introduced to the story. Once I finally sorted out the characters and their relationships to one another, I began to enjoy the book much more. That same point also coincided with the beginning of Mrs. Ellen (Nelly) Dean’s tale of the Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs. Surprisingly, after drudging dutifully through the first fifty pages, I ended up flying through Wuthering Heights.

My favorite part of the book was the first half of Nelly’s tale, the part that chronicles Catherine and Heathcliff’s upbringing, friendship, family life, and love affair. This portion is why I have decided that Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite classics. The only truly good and pure character throughout the entire novel is Nelly; every other character is severely flawed, and two—Catherine and Heathcliff—are quite morally ambiguous. I found it so fascinating to read about their relationship, because in a strange way, it was inspiring. I think the fact that the only real redeemable quality about either of them was their love for each other made that love all the more potent. And I find it strangely admirable that both are fully aware of the other’s faults and shortcomings, and do not try to hide or protect them from the world’s knowing, and yet they love each other both for and despite those flaws. Of the pair, I think Catherine the less wicked, though she was manipulative and considered herself blameless in everything. Heathcliff is more interesting, though, because he has so many dark motives, and the ways in which he goes about achieving them are deceitful and mysterious. He’s a plotter. The scene in which Heathcliff enters her chambers and holds her in his arms on the night she dies was powerful.

The children of Catherine and Heathcliff, who make up the second half of Nelly’s tale, were decidedly less pleasant to read about. Cathy, while kinder and gentler than her mother, was too tender for my liking. Her cousin Linton, Heathcliff’s son, was such a sniveling pile of shit and she wasted way too much time, energy, love, and tears on that boy. He was a coward, a selfish baby in a teenage body, and any pity I might have had for him vanished at his infantile and dramatic behavior. I might have liked Cathy more if she’d taken more of a hard-line approach in her dealings with him. But every time she stood her ground, Linton would throw a fit and either make her worry so much for his health or cause her to pity him so that she would recant her ground-standing and coddle him further. It was aggravating! I actually found Cathy and Linton more repulsive than Catherine and Heathcliff, and far less interesting, though as with the latter pair, I found the female to be less horrible a person than the male (Cathy is really, for the most part, a good person, though prone to dramatics and feeling too much sympathy). I didn’t enjoy reading the second half of Wuthering Heights as much because neither the characters nor their relationships with each other interested me as much as those of Catherine and Heathcliff.

The ending of Wuthering Heights, however, was redeeming because Cathy finally begins treating her other cousin Hareton with respect and nurtures his desire to learn and become a gentleman. Their happiness redeemed Cathy to me, and I had been interested by Hareton’s character and backstory throughout the novel. He was probably my favorite character, and the one I’d have liked to have seen more of. My favorite aspect of Wuthering Heights was Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship, but neither of them were admirable characters on their own.

Other tidbits:
I could hardly understand a word Joseph said, so I skimmed over most of his lines. Edgar was a fairly docile character; I liked him simply because of his gently nature, though he wasn’t fiery or particularly intriguing. The narrator, Mr. Lockwood, is simply an observer of the happenings at Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights; his purpose in the story is simply to be a person for which Nelly to tell the story to, and thus I found him uninteresting and unnecessary. Brontë’s descriptions are lovely and full of poetic imagery and figurative language; I found the writing easy to read and I felt that I understood the context in which the novel was written and the setting in which the story takes place. The book has a dreary, dark mood to it; Wuthering Heights is a depressing abode, while Thrushcross Grange is vast and lonely. The ending strips all this away, creating warmth and cheeriness in the mood where before there was none.

Wuthering Heights was perhaps not the most enjoyable book to read, due to its slew of dysfunctional characters and, at times, tedious narration/plot line. However, I so admired the ways in which Brontë connects the stories of two generations’ of characters (and the influence of the first on the second), and was so gripped by the juxtaposition between Catherine and Heathcliff’s unconventional personalities and fierce, unwavering love, that it has definitely earned a place on my list of favorite classics. For around 200 pages, I was more immersed in Wuthering Heights than I think I’ve ever been whilst reading a classic, so much so that I didn’t feel like I was reading a classic at all.

Thanks for reading.

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Manga Classics: Great Expectations

23332875Novel: Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Stacy King, Crystal Chan, Nokman Poon  | Goodreads
Release Date: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley

Great Expectations has it all: romance, mystery, comedy, and unforgettable characters woven through a gripping rags-to-riches tale. Naive Pip, creepy Miss Haversham, beautifully cold Estella, terrifying Abel Magwitch, and the rest of Dicken’s fantastic cast are perfectly envisioned in this new adaptation in this 300-plus page volume featuring artwork by artist Nokman Poon. Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

This is the second manga book I’ve ever read and, like the first one, I enjoyed it more than I ever would have expected. The goal of this line of Manga Classics is to get more people interested in reading classics. This goal has been reached with me, because I now want to read Dickens’ original Great Expectations in full. I loved the graphics and found Pip to be a protagonist with depth and character. I was able to follow the story easily for the most part, though the mystery holds less weight than it probably does in the actual novel. Nevertheless, this was a fun, entertaining, and easy read. I highly recommend the Manga Classics line for anyone who would like to explore classic literature but is a bit hesitant to do so. Also, anyone who loves Great Expectations and is interested in reading it in comic form should give this book a shot.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free through NetGalley. All opinions are honest and my own.

Manga Classics: Emma

23332879Novel: Manga Classics: Emma | Goodreads
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley
Also Published On: Lit Up Review

Just in time for the 200th Anniversary, Manga Classics: Emma brings Jane Austen’s classic tale of youthful folly and romantic exuberance to a modern audience with this beautiful, new manga adaptation. The impulsive match-making of Emma Woodhouse delivers both humor and heartache through the gorgeous artwork of manga-ka Po Tse (Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice). – Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

Let me start off by saying that this is the first manga novel I’ve ever read. I’ve never had an interest in this type of book before, but I do have a strong interest in reading classics. However, my dilemma is that sometimes classics are, well, stuffy and boring and more than a bit pedantic. I have never read Jane Austen’s Emma before so I cannot compare this manga edition to the original novel. But I will say that I quite enjoyed reading manga Emma and I now have a strong desire to read the actual classic. I think that’s what’s so great about the entire collection of Manga Classics: they get readers interested in classic literature by making it fun to read and easy to breeze through. I am sure that I will find it much easier to follow the complete novel after experiencing this version than I would have otherwise. And lovers of the original Emma will surely be delighted with the way the story is brought to life on these pages. The illustrations are charming and easy to follow once you get the hang of reading right to left. I did struggle at times to keep track of characters by their last names, but was always able to sort them out quickly within any given scene. Above all, I really enjoyed the story and the manner in which it is depicted. It is entertaining and cartoonish, but I can still see the appeal of Austen’s work that has lasted two centuries. I myself will most definitely be picking up her original novel soon!

I recommend this edition of Emma to any reader who wants to delve into the world of classics but is hesitant to do so. In addition, I recommend it to any Jane Austen lovers as an hour and a half illustrated adventure with Emma Woodhouse. Happy 200th anniversary, Emma!

DISCLAIMER: I received a digital copy of this title for free through NetGalley. All opinions are honest and my own.