Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: It's a Wrap!

And so all good things must come to an end....
This is the final installment of our Wuthering Heights Wednesday read-along hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts. Surprisingly, I was not the only one who hadn't read the book prior to this little adventure. Several other WH virgins read along with the seasoned veterans who 'held our hands' as we made our way through.

So, what did I think? First and foremost, this was not at all what I was expecting.

EXPECTATION: Wuthering Heights is one of the world's great love stories.
REALITY: People consider this a love story??? It seems more like obsession, revenge, and misery to me... although this was a great quote from Cathy I:
My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff! He's always in my mind: not as a pleasure to myself, but as my own being. (page 83)
EXPECTATION: A tall, dark, and handsome hero captures the young girl's heart.
REALITY: An boy of questionable origin, taken in and raised by a family, grows to be a man of questionable mental health bent on seeking revenge against the family's son who mistreated him, while acting on an obsession with the daughter that lasts beyond her life.

EXPECTATION: An atmospheric tale, where the setting is an integral part of the story.
REALITY: I was one for three!

What have I learned?
Although I have long suspected this was true, I learned that I do not need to like or identify with any character in order to enjoy a novel. Until now, I have never been able to point to a specific title where I disliked everyone. Wuthering Heights has changed that.

Although there may have been passing sympathy for Hareton, this was a pretty despicable lot. It's hard to say whether I disliked Heathcliff or Linton more. And, oh that Nelly! So many times she could have stepped in and changed the course of events, but the one time she feels even a slight twinge of guilt, it is quickly discounted. Who knows about Joseph... I didn't understand much of what he had to say, but what I did catch wasn't very favorable. At least Cathy I was interesting, poor Cathy II didn't even have that going for her!

I love classics and Wuthering Heights did not disappoint. It will not go down as one of my favorite books of 2010, but I am very glad to have finally read it. The read-along, however, will definitely be among my favorite blogging 'activities' of the year. The group made what was ultimately a pretty creepy book loaded with loathsome characters into an enjoyable, memorable read. And best of all, I have a some new friends whose blogs I will continue to visit regularly.

Thanks so much for hosting, Jill!

The WHW Group:


19 comments:

  1. Excellent - you made it. I completely agree with your first "expectation" - it's not exactly a love story in the conventional sense, certainly not as I was expecting it to be when I first read it.

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  2. In some ways I'm sad it's tied to Twilight now. Part of me giggles of the thought of all the little Edward-loving tweens cracking this open and how appalled they must be. But I first read it in college, with no expectations, and I've loved it ever since. But I wasn't expecting a love story!

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  3. It's been so much fun to read y'all's progress!

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  4. Although I have long suspected this was true, I learned that I do not need to like or identify with any character in order to enjoy a novel.

    I think this is such a success all by itself, because I find so many readers go in with expectations of a love story and this is what ends up making the book totally not work for them. Really glad you enjoyed it.

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  5. I definitely had fun watching you all experience this book. I am glad I read it too, but would not ever admit to loving it. It was sorta like watching a Jerry Springer show...it was entertaining but couldn't take too much at one time. Now go have a drink and celebrate the finishing of it!

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  6. I so enjoyed following your progress and would feel a twinge of excitement to see the next installment. There are just some literary gaps in our reading that must be filled and the work of the Brontes is one of them.

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  7. Yay! I'm glad it was an enjoyable experience, despite the book. :-) And I feel exactly the same way...it was so not what I was expecting!

    I love Sandy's comparison to a Jerry Springer show.

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  8. I am so glad you found this such an enjoyable experience! Well done on finishing. I have read this several times, trying to find some kernel of enjoyment in it, and I still can't. I hate all the characters, I can't bear the ridiculousness of it all, and I just get so worked up every time I read it, wanting to knock everyone's heads together! I really don't understand why people love Wuthering Heights so much - it's not romantic, AT ALL. Everyone in it is a psycho, for goodness' sake!!! Jane Eyre will always be my favourite Bronte - Wuthering Heights is totally not my cup of tea I'm afraid - I need more romance!

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  9. Ok, I'm going to take this that you didn't hate the book. I feel like I'm in such a small minority!!

    I also had sympathy for Hareton and I'm very hopeful for the turn around at the end between him and Cathy. Hope...hope hope hope. :)

    Love your expectation busters. And I love that quote from Cathy. I had tried to find it yesterday when writing my review but I have so many passages underlined I couldn't quite find it.

    So...up for Brothers Karamzov next month? ;)

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  10. I loved the read a long experience, but absolutely hated the book. It was such a disappointment to me. I can't see how this book was ever considered a love story and I know I will never read it again. But I have to say I loved the company of everyone involved during our journey.

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  11. Congrats on completing the challenge JoAnn!

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  12. I could see why this could be considered a love story, because Heath and Cathy did love each other (no matter how sick and twisted) to the grave. Although, I think it was more of an unrequited love if anything.

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  13. Verity - This has been quite an experience. I don't know when a book has been so different from my expectations.

    Amy - I still liked this, even though it wasn't the love story I expected. Don't know what all those Twilight fans will think though...

    Amanda - Glad you've enjoyed following our little journey. Reading with company really made this for me.

    Nicole - I'm happy I finally have an example to point to. Every character is horrible, yet I enjoyed the book... I'm afraid to think what that says about me! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Sandy - I like the comparison to Jerry Springer. The white wine is chilling as I type...

    Darlene - Exactly. I'm so happy this literary gap has finally been filled!

    Softdrink - Thanks again for hosting... without the push I may never have gotten around to it, and this was really fun (in spite of the book).

    Bookssnob - ...and I was just thinking that I really need to reread Jane Eyre!

    Trish - No, I didn't hate this at all! Even though I'll never consider it a favorite, I actually liked it. It just seemed so odd for such a dark, depressing book to end on a hopeful note. I'm thinking about Brothers K, but I really wanted to read C&P first... we'll see.

    Vivienne - You deserve a medal for completing this one! I could feel your growing pain and dislike each week. The company was definitely the best part!

    Darlene - Thanks. Sorry this wasn't good timing for you to read with us.

    Whitney - Looking at it as unrequited love definitely helps. So glad to have met you through this read-along!

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  14. I felt pretty much the same way about this one. I wish that I would've read it with a group to enhance my experience!!

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  15. Staci - There is no doubt that the read-along experience really made this for me... not even sure I would have stuck with it without the group.

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  16. When I read this last year, these were my exact thoughts:

    "EXPECTATION: Wuthering Heights is one of the world's great love stories.
    REALITY: People consider this a love story??? It seems more like obsession, revenge, and misery to me..."

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  17. Iris - Glad to hear I'm not alone on that one... WH was not at all the book I was expecting!

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  18. Great wrap-up. I too have decided I don't have to like characters in order to enjoy a book. I'm still willing to give this book a second nod.

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  19. Kim- WH was great as a read-along! I'll definitely consider joining another one in the fall... do you know of any coming up?

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