Wow. I am going to have a bear of a time trying to sum this up.
Heathcliff, an orphaned gypsy boy, is taken in by the rich Mr. Earnshaw and his family. Catherine Earnshaw, at the time around 10 years old, almost immediately befriends the boy, and as they grow up together Heathcliff and Catherine become more and more obsessed with themselves; however, while Catherine is liked by all, Heathcliff becomes more and more distant from the civilized world. It is only Catherine who seems to care about him, and vice versa.
Ultimately, even after Catherine is gone from the world, Heathcliff is haunted by her memory, and his passionate vengence on the world is finally unleashed to repay everyone for all that he has suffered.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Honestly, I thought this was a romance story. In the end, although there were many weddings, many deaths, many dramatic scenes of utter silliness and tantrums, there was only one actual romance. No one actually lives happily ever after, thanks to Heathcliff, who seems to be involved in some way to all the people who died. Died of a broken heart, died of fright, died of a cold they caught while out on the moors running away from Heathcliff, etc. etc (well okay, maybe that last one was a bit of an exaggeration).
It’s important to know that this story is hard to summarize because so many things happen in a very long amount of time. The whole story altogether is set in a 20 year span.
While Heathcliff is described as the main character, I would say that Catherine the 1st and Catherine the 2nd were the main characters. The book is seperated into two sections: section one, how everyone started out, ending with Catherine the 2nd being born, and section two was about Catherine the 2nd putting up with Heathcliff’s misery, which seems to be randomly unleashed on whoever seems to vex him. I kept trying to come up with a pattern to who he actually hated, but it never in the end made sense.
Even though Catherine and Heathcliff’s love and passion for one another was evident in one chapter, it never made sense to me why, in the end, Catherine married Edgar Linton, their neighbor. That doesn’t exactly scream ‘romantic’, especially since she was perfectly happen with Mr. Linton. Heathcliff was enraged when this happened, and thus began his life of tyranny. At one point, in like the second to last chapter, it actually ran through my head that Heathcliff might be demon-possessed.
I’m still trying to figure out what kept me going through this book. Maybe it was because I was sure there must be some happy ending, in which I suppose there was a bit of happy ending (if you consider Heathcliff dying a joy, then yes, it was a happy ending). I think it may have been Emily Bronte’s writing; I thought the actual writing was rather good, even if none of the characters had any real redeeming qualities and the plot was pretty twisted. The reason I give it three stars and not less is probably because I applaud the author for making me think I liked the book while I read it. Until I actually got to thinking about it once it was finished.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Violence: 3/10 (Heathcliff is very violent, and beats several people, including his wife who runs away the day after she marries him)
Language: 2/10 (no actual bad words, but I’d rather not repeat them)
Audience: Adult (while a kid could read this, none of it would make any sense at all, just because of the plot. I thought, for a historical novel, it was very understandable; Bronte doesn’t use a ton of huge words that I don’t understand, like Melville or Austen)