Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughts: Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers. - via Goodreads

In a previous post, I said I fell asleep while reading the first quarter of Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca two years ago. In the same post, I also admitted that I’m an uncultured Philistine (an uncultured Philistine? Talk about redundant) who feasts on babies for breakfast. Just kidding (about the Philistine part). I finished reading the book, and guess what? Rebecca didn’t make me want to stab my eye out with a plastic fork or do violent things to an already-dead author.

In fact, I kind of loved it.

Originally, I thought Rebecca was one of those books whose brilliance solely depends on its ‘shock’ factor, and, once again, the book proved me wrong. I looked up the ending halfway through the book, because I couldn’t stand the suspense anymore. (Damn you, Wikipedia, for encouraging my spoilertastic tendencies.) Even if I already knew the ending, I still stayed up until the wee hours of the morning and raced through the final half of the book. Yes, I knew what was going to happen, but I still had to know HOW IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. So, no, Rebecca’s brilliance doesn’t just depend on its completely heartrending ending. It can hold itself up with or without the shocktastic ending.

The unnamed narrator tells the story a couple of years after the events in the book transpire. After I finished reading the book, I immediately reread the first chapter to gain a little more insight on the characters. This particular method of storytelling made me think of all the things that we look back on with regret, the things we can never change. Words we could have said but clutched closer to our hearts instead, a street we could have crossed at a particular moment, or a door we shouldn’t have slammed shut.

This book actually made me cry. *HIGHLIGHT TO READ SPOILER.* That scene where Maxim actually tells the protagonist he loves her, and that he never loved Rebecca. Why did you tell her when you were about to get arrested, Maxim, why?!?!?!?! Sniff. Sniff. *END OF SPOILER.*

The writing was UH-MAZING—the perfect mix of beautiful and creepy. I don’t regret reading Jane Eyre before diving into this scrumptious masterpiece, but it wasn’t actually necessary. Maxim de Winter and Mr. Rochester are two different characters who are *ahem* hot in their own unique ways. Both are tortured and oh-so brooding, but the similarity ends there.

Rating: 8/5 I AM NOT KIDDING. THIS BOOK IS THAT GOOD.

17 comments:

Trish said...

Yes! This is one of my favourite books, ever. It took me years to finally get around to reading it because I thought it was a romance (the silly 70s cover) but it isn't at all. It's more of a psychological thriller, and I love those. Heh, you never really know until you pick a book up and actually read it ;)

Teacher/Learner said...

This is my mom's favourite book and I finally got to reading it this year. It was gripping and the ending was mind-blowing. Great review :)

Zibilee said...

I actually have 2 copies of this book, and have never read it, but that is ok, because I am reviving my classics project come January. I am going to again try to read one classic a month, and this will be February's read. I am so excited to hear that you loved it and that it was such a good read for you! I am really excited now!

Ben said...

It's a great gothic novel (so I heard) Those thing require a special mood to appreciate. It's all about the setting and the atmosphere. I watched the movie in college and Hitcock gave it life.

Laura said...

Yay! Love love love Rebecca- well, not actually the character Rebecca, OBViously, but the book=yay! Awesome review of it too- although, I read it without knowing what was going to happen, and it was super super shocking and amazing... so I think that way might have been even better. But still, your way clearly worked too!

mooderino said...

Nice review. She's a good writer, but with very dark tendencies. Her name does sound like an 19th century romance writer though.

mood

Moody Writing

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

8 out of 5, I love it. This book is so freaking fantastic. I avoided it for too long because I thought the cover made it look like a bad romance. It is not! I made the mistake of reading this before any of her other books and now none of them can measure up for me. Watch the Hiitchcock film if you get a chance, it's wonderful!

Audra said...

Hooray I am SO GLAD you liked this. I adore this book with my whole body. It's an all-time life favorite. Maybe the only book I've reread the most. About twenty times or so. I might need to reread it right now. So.good.

Brenna said...

I'm so glad to hear you loved this one. I haven't read it, but I plan to read it for the classics challenge next year.

Trisha said...

I could not agree more that this book is fantabulous. But on to the important part: YOU LOOKED UP THE ENDING! *majorgasp* I barely read the back of books or blurbs, so I can't imagine doing this. :)

Jessica said...

Shame on you for looking up the ending ;)

reviewsbylola said...

I remember being mesmerized by this one. I haven't read it in a few years, so maybe it is time for a re read.

mel u said...

I really like Rebecca also

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

I love this book! I'm so happy it ended up wowing you!

Rebecca Reid said...

I haven't read it since I was a teen. Now I want to go reread it now!

Rachel said...

Rebecca became one of my all time favourite reads the moment I read it. It's fantastic!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I just read this a couple of months ago for the RIP Challenge and am so thankful and happy that I finally, FINALLY read it! I also loved everything about this story and was swept up in it. Did you know that Susan Hill (author of The Woman in Black) wrote a sequel to it in the '80s (or early '90s)? Not sure if it's something worthy of reading, but I found it an interesting trivia topic.

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