Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

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.

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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)

Innappropriateness/Romance: 2/10

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)

 

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The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Jonas lives in a perfect world. Literally. The way everything works has been done that way for as long as anyone can remember, back and back and back. Nothing is out of place; everyone knows where they belong, and where everyone else belongs. Words like Love, Bravery, and Starving are a fantasy.

Life is just as it always has been for Jonas. Until he is given the job of Receiver. Receiving memories from the Giver from before the community was formed, Jonas slowly learns about life as it used to be. The pain, sadness, and joy all mixed up from before anyone can remember eventually leads to the awful truth about the community he lives in.

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From what I have heard from everyone else who has read it, they either loved, or were seriously disturbed. I totally understand that; I just finished it the second time around. I was severely disturbed the first time around, but I still loved it.

I would definitely describe it as a disturbing book. Yet, even in the hateful community they ‘live’ in, their world actually is an echo of where we may be headed. While most dystopian books don’t seem at all like a realistic future (think Hunger Games and Divergent), this one is startlingly close to where America may be headed. Perhaps more magnified in the book, but still a good glimpse at where we DON’T want to be.

Other’s may disagree with me, but for me this was a bit of a wake up to reality. I seriously encourage parents to read this before you hand it to your elementary-aged children; it may be a bit over their heads, or too disturbing for the more mature younger kids.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 3/10 (mostly some of the memories he receives)

Language: 0/10

Innappropriateness/Romance: 1/10

Audience: Ages 12 and up

If anyone would like to comment on how the movie compares with the book, please do so!

 

The Soul of a Horse, by Joe Camp

After the unsuccessful  Benji: Off the Leash, Joe Camp, director of the famous Benji movies, turns to horses to replace his film-directing hobby. Little did he suspect how much he would learn from the horse whose eyes showed that he was more than just a beast of burden. Joe Camp tells the tale of he and his wife jumped into the horse world without so much as a single riding lesson beforehand, and without any real knowledge of how to take care of a horse. Other than what he had been told, that is. Not only does he learn, but he learns that the only real teachers of horse care are the horse’s themselves.

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This book was super great! I got it for my birthday, and was really surprised by how sincere the author was about all his thoughts. He is truly out to change the equestrian world, and how it views and cares for its horses. He also doesn’t mind telling you to question everything. Which I did. It was really refreshing to hear someone speak so freely about being different, without worrying about how the rest of the horse world would probably, most likely, try to bash him to pieces. His philosophy is entirely about laying down what other’s have told us to do about horse’s, and to care for them in the way that is best for them, not the way we think is best, or what makes us comfortable.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Language: 4/10 (I believe there were several swear words, in the moderately bad category)