It has been a while since I read the last sentence of “Rebecca” and returned the book to its snug place on my bookshelf. My apologies for not writing this “review” sooner, but I think there are certain books that simmer in our brains and emotions long after the book is closed.
“Rebecca” is a novel that readers have very strong opinions on. People either love it or absolutely hate it. After having read it, I understand why people cannot feel indifferent.
It is a very slow burn of a novel. There is not a ton of action, a lot of very detailed description. The writing is dense, so this isn’t a quick read. As someone who studied literature in college, I really enjoy sinking my teeth into a word-dense novel so it was a pleasure to read. The characters evoke strong emotions. They are not all likeable. In fact, they tend to lean toward the dislikable side which again I found very entertaining. I recall reading Wuthering Heights in college and finding a similar feeling toward the characters. But it is the story as a whole and how the characters fit into it that drive the story forward and keep the reader turning the pages.
The main character (who is nameless by the way which I think is brilliant. I read in the edition I have that the reason she does not have a name is because Daphne couldn’t think of one! How funny!) is not a heroine by any means. She is not very strong-minded or independent. She has very little self-confidence, or even self-esteem for that matter. The character isn’t one I found myself rooting for even after she comes in to contact with Mrs. Danvers. In fact, the whole scenario of Mrs. Danvers pretending to be kind to the main character after being so cold and harsh was very unnerving. I found myself mentally shaking my head at how silly she is for believing Mrs. Danvers but how many of us have longed to be accepted? How many of us, despite knowing someone is cruel, still want to be in their good graces?
And her absolute need for de Winter to love her as much as he loved Rebecca was quite sad.
Going into this novel I wasn’t quite sure what direction it would go in. At first read of the book blurb I thought it was going to be a ghost story. Boy was I wrong! It turned out to be so much more than that, with depth and density that I have not experienced in reading a book in a VERY long time.
I loved the ending and the way in which the author wrapped up the story in that no one won. No one came out of the entire situation with clean hands. And each character was so deeply broken and flawed. The house, too, carried the same vibes. I loved the descriptions of the house and I felt in my mind I was there physically.
So, what side of the coin am I on? The love it or hate it?
Well, if you said Love it, you are absolutely correct!
I found it thought provoking and entertaining; an original tale that I see sparked and inspired the genre of psychological thriller. It was the perfect book at the right time. Isn’t that it after all? At the end of the day – or the book – a book we ultimately love or hate depends on when it found its way into our hands. Sometimes the right book hits at the right time, the wrong book at the wrong time. Had I read this 5 years ago when I actually bought the book, I don’t know if I would have loved it as much. I know I would have liked it, but I don’t think I would have given it the solid 5 stars I give it today.
This will be on the re-read list for sure and I am not big on re-reading. Very few books hit that list, but that’s a post for another day…
Thanks for reading,
Amanda – The Bookshelf Detective