For some years I've put off reading this book due to the negative reviews given of it by my best friend and my mother. I'm writing here to say that they were not wrong in the least.
Goodreads synopsis: 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.I have mixed views on this novel. First off, Emily Bronte's writing is incredible, I won't deny. She kept me hooked through the entire book no matter how much I hated it. Her characters were definitely one of a kind as was her story. However, they were both entirely unlikable.
Let's start with Heathcliff. Overcome with hatred and a want for vengeance after being mistreated as a child by the Earnshaw family he attempts to ruin everyone's lives to get revenge. He's also madly in love with his Catherine Earnshaw, who he was raised with and who is also madly in love with him. However, Catherine marries her neighbor Edgar Linton after Heathcliff runs away. Catherine, is a spoiled, petulant, willful, awful, awful person! I'll say this much, Heathcliff and Catherine deserve each other. So Heathcliff pops back up some time later at the Linton's house and flirts with Catherine until Linton is just a little understandably ticked off and they have a big fight. To get back at Linton for marrying the love of his life, Heathcliff actually elopes with Linton's sister Isabella, who loves him then but later learns his true tempestuous nature. Catherine goes madder (if that's possible) after losing Heathcliff and gets very ill. She then gives birth to a child after a short secret meeting with Heathcliff where they declare their eternal love yet hatred for each other for ruining each other's life with their mad love. This is seriously a melodramatic story. Catherine dies giving birth to a daughter who is also named Catherine (which is a little confusing) but she is nicknamed Cathy (that's what I'll call her here for clarity's sake). Later, Isabella runs away from Heathcliff after being totally through with his mistreatment of her and gives birth to a son in London. At this point in the story I hated all of the characters except Catherine's husband Linton, who was an okay chap compared to the rest of them.
The second part of the story focuses on they descendants. So add to the story Cathy (Linton and Catherine's daughter), Heathcliff Jr. (Heathcliff and Isabella Linton's son) and also Hareton (Catherine's deceased brother's son who has been raised by Heathcliff). Isabella (Linton's sister who married Heathcliff then ran away) dies and her son is supposed to go to Linton but Heathcliff hears of this and claims the child to Lintons' chagrin. Heathcliff Jr. is a sickly, spoiled and petulant child. He's not exactly bad just really annoying and bratty. Cathy is not like her mother but she is fairly spoiled but with a deep love for her father that keeps her more on the straight and narrow throughout her life. Hareton has had the misfortune to be raised by Heathcliff so has had no education and has been mistreated as have all who have come in contact with Heathcliff. He comes across as unkind and ignorant but through the story he begins to improve. Cathy, against her father's knowledge keeps up a correspondence of love letters with Heathcliff Jr., which unknown to her are proctored by Heathcliff himself, who want them to marry so he can get her father's property. With Linton on his death bed, Heathcliff lures Cathy to his house where he forces her to marry Heathcliff Jr., who is also incredibly sickly. So Linton dies and a few days later so does Heathcliff Jr. and Heathcliff gets all of Cathy's father's properties. She continues to live in her father-in-law's house after her husband's death taunting him and hating him. After disliking Hareton at first, she begins to realize he's the only friend she is going to get in the house and after some time they begin to fall in love. This doesn't make Heathcliff too happy but at the moment he's pretty stuck on going out too the moors and acting really oddly. It is hinted in the story that he sees Catherine's ghost. He dies in his sleep leaving Cathy and Hareton to be happy and marry, finally free of the looming cloud of Heathcliff.
So I skipped a lot of details of the story but that's the main gist of it. For being a horribly depressing book that just keeps getting sadder and weirder as it goes on, I think the ending gives you some hope. I'm not really sure who in their right mind would think Heathcliff and Catherine's "romance" is a great love story but it's a view that's out there and it blows my mind. They were both insane. Everything they did was selfish and driven by hatred (well that's mostly Heathcliff). Even their "love" was selfish and absolutely dysfunctional. In fact, dysfunctional is a great word to describe the whole book.
So my feelings about this book, as I said at the beginning, are hard to explain. Despite the crazy plot line and characters, the writing has emotional and gripping. It's a gothic romance and I think I don't like them. However, I think I could possibly re-read this book in the future. So yeah, I have a love hate relationship with this book. :(
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