Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 5/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

“All I care about in this goddamn life are me, my drums, and you…”

if you don’t know that quote, you’re probably too young to be reading this and isn’t it past your bedtime or shouldn’t you be in school or something?

but that quote, hyper-earnest cheese – that is romance. wuthering heights is something more dangerous than romance. it’s one long protracted retaliation masquerading as passion. and goddamn do i love it. i can’t believe i haven’t reviewed it before – i mention this book in more than half of my reviews, i have a whole shelf devoted to its retellings, so why the delay?? but better late than never.

no, it’s not a perfect novel; it’s a flawed structure revealing the actions of seriously flawed people. the framing device-within-a-framing-device? totally awkward. having nelly dean tell the story even though where was she for most of the action? totally wrong move, brontë; it makes the beginning such a slog to get through. but that’s just stale loaf – the good stuff is all the meat in between.

and oh, the meat… the swarthy stranger of mysterious origins being raised in a family of sheltered overmoist english mushrooms, all pale and rain-bloated, the running wild, two-souls-against-the-world adolescence…childhood indiscretions… vows and tantrums, bonding, unspoken promises, yes i will yes i will yes i will. oh, but wait, what’s this??…it’s blond and it’s rich and it’s what’s expected of me. very well then. see ya, heathcliff…

it’s just textbook gothic from here on out: revenge-seduction, overheard conversations, mysterious disappearances, murdered puppies, swooning, vindictive child-rearing, death, ghosts, moors, phoar…

but this to me, is a perfect love story, even though it’s more like torture. the unattainable is always more romantic than the storybook. i don’t like an uncomplicated ending, and a story is more impactful with nuanced characters, preferably heavily unlikeable throughout. (this is where i plug head-on – one of my favorite movies ever. do it.) this story just makes me feel good. and i’m well over my teenage fascination with the “bad boy”; i realized pretty quick that “bad boys” are usually pretty dumb. so i moved on to “emotionally disturbed”, which is the same thing, really; plenty of drama, and they will leave you drunken “presents” on your lawn (road signs, carousel ponies), but not complete burnouts, at least. but my teenaged dating pool is neither here nor there, the point is that heathcliff can be romanticized as this victim/villain without having to correspond to the ideal. it’s about the level of passion, the size of the grand romantic gesture. devoting your life to destroying the people who kept you from your true love is an amazingly grand gesture.

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