Book Review | Wuthering Heights? More like Narcissistic Heights!

I love reading classics, especially Gothic Fiction. It’s dark, mysterious, there are morally grey characters, gloomy settings, horror and death! What’s not to like! It’s fascinating really to think people wrote something like this almost a century back, the time when we think humanity was not as bad as it is now.
So one of the books highly rated in this category is Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte wrote one book in her lifetime and it became a classic! Genius!

Wuthering heights is a story about two families Earnshaws and Clintons. It’s a complicated tale about relationships forged, broken and manipulated when the Earnshaws adoptive son Heathcliff comes in to the picture. The book starts with a very promising premise, sadly, it gets worse and worse with every chapter. Every character is unlikable, forget about unlikability, they all are either full-blown narcissists or at least show signs of covert narcissism. I did not find this as a tragic romantic story. I think this was a story of a generational dysfunctional family and child abuse and how it gets inherited over and over again. So what happens when you put a bunch of self-absorbed, manipulators together? It’s just… how do I put it nicely- they’ve all been horrible people and they got what they deserved. There is some impulsive romance, weddings, vengeance, some more abuse, manipulations, even a ghost.

I believe there’s a fine line between fiction and reality. What someone calls a fiction could be ugly reality for others. Emily Bronte captures this line eminently. And most of this depiction comes from her own personal tragic experiences and loss she had to face as a child. This book was nothing but a scandal in 19th century because of the mental and physical abuse it portrayed. It was the time when Victorian morals, values, social and religious views were at its peak. It all is fascinating how dark and deeply twisted this book is until you yourself come from a dysfunctional family and have witnessed generations of narcissists closely, and are still recovering from the damage it has caused; then it’s all triggering and infuriating.

Let’s break down the book and rate it:

  • Language: It’s not an easy read. You need to be an intermediate reader and somewhat acquainted with old English.
  • Characters: as mentioned before are highly unlikable.
  • Relatability: There was nothing I could find relatable except the identifying narcissism.
  • Plot/Narrative: The plot and narrative are what keeps you hooked. You cannot stop reading, you’re continuously on the edge to see how worse it could get.
  • Will I re-read it: No. But I will not forget this book.

I’ll give it 3 stars.

I think this book is like watching a reality TV show where you hate almost everyone and everything that’s happening but you can’t look away and want to continue to see how bad choices are made. It will always be the book that I’ll love to hate.

4 thoughts on “Book Review | Wuthering Heights? More like Narcissistic Heights!

  1. Hey Summer. Your second paragraph kept me laughing out loud πŸ™‚ And it’s true there are no likeable characters, but with your interest in gothic, I’m surprised you did not at least find Heathcliff a fascinating example of how romantic passion produces the gothic villain. The excellent, golden age of Hollywood 1939 film with Lawrence Olivier as Heathcliff is a classic in its own medium (film) only focuses on maybe half the book but really plays on that romantic hero/gothic villain conflation. Give the film a chance πŸ™‚


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