"Let's see if I'll still like it as much as I used to... Somehow I doubt it."
And with that, I started reading Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights
again after a gap of over thirty years.
First reaction on finishing for the second time: "Thanks God that's over!"
But this reaction wasn't because I now hated it as I had suspected I might, but because I found the emotional impact I'd experienced as a teenager had been dulled to indifference. I understood perfectly how the drama and overwrought emotions had gladdened my silly teenaged heart but this time around it left me strangely unmoved. I didn't even flinch at the abuse and violence which was one of the reasons why I had resisted rereading it for so long. Sadly, it also left me strangely unmoved.
So how did I go from loving this Gothic melodrama to feeling total indifference? Not really sure... Maybe I just got too old. It certainly made me feel old and tired while I was reading it.
Definitely part of it was that I don't think I've ever met such an unlikeable group of characters in a single novel. Or met a bunch that I've cared less about. Now I love a good villain or a flawed character but this lot just made me roll my eyes and sigh. I also disliked the fact that none of the characters developed or changed during the narrative so I often had a hard time understanding their motivations, and while I could appreciate Bronte's theme of revenge I didn't feel like this had been anywhere near fully explored.
However, I did like the landscape and atmosphere of the novel and some of Bronte's descriptions were wonderful. I also appreciated themes such as the powerlessness of women. It also piqued my interest in Emily herself as I'm now curious how a young Victorian woman who lived and died quietly in an English backwater with a limited social milieu came to write such a novel.
But for the more mature me, the good stuff just didn't carry it so unfortunately, I've had to downgrade my enthusiastic 5 stars to a meh 3--didn't love it but then didn't hate it either.
A big thanks goes out to my good friend Kim for holding my hand while rereading this. I don't think I would've made it to the end without you!