Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Classics Bookclub

I read Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier for the first time. I enjoyed it. Unlike other classics, I didn't find it hard to get into (for example, I do enjoy Jane Austen, but I can't just pick it up and get sucked in).

I'm finding it hard to put together any coherent thoughts, so I'll just use some of the discussion questions Lisa posted.

How would you classify Rebecca? Love story? Ghost story? Tragedy? Mystery? It’s been called one of the greatest gothic romances; would you agree?

I wasn't really sure what to think before I read it. I had read The Thirteenth Tale (see Melissa's review) a year ago, and in the edition I read, it suggested other "gothic tales," including Rebecca. The Thirteenth Tale was unlike any book I had read, and I enjoyed it -- that sense of eerie foreboding following me as I unwrapped the mystery of Vida Winter along with the narrator.

Of course I had to consult Wikipedia for this assignment, and I do agree with the characterization of both of these books as Gothic fiction to an extent. Perhaps to add my own characterization, it's realistic gothic fiction, since there are no vampires or werewolves, and the devil himself doesn't make an appearance -- or does he??

Did you like Maxim at first? Did you trust him? Why do you think the narrator was so unsure of his affection? Did you share her doubt? What gave her confidence in his love–or did she remain insecure? Did you alter your opinion of either Maxim or the narrator in the course of the novel? What made you change your mind?

I liked Maxim, but were I in his new-wife-to-be's shoes, I would have found him maddeningly distant, so I'm not sure why she loved him. However, I do understand given her choices why she married him. I think that when Maxim revealed the truth about his marriage, she came to trust his love completely. I was a small step ahead of her, and saw glimpses of the truth before it was revealed.

However, unlike Maxim, I'm not sure that this creepy revelation made me love him!! It did make me feel happy for her though.

Without giving too much away (hate spoilers), were you satisfied with the ending? Why or why not?

(slight spoiler here--avert your eyes if you haven't read it)

I'm not sure I was satisfied. It seemed a little too easy. In the wake of destruction, no one had to go on and deal with their choices in life. It was a type of fresh start if you will. It seemed a bit too easy (or perhaps a bit too dramatic, which isn't usually my style, but probably fits with the Gothic genre quite well).


I enjoyed Rebecca so much that when I saw a copy of Jamaica Inn, another of her best-selling works, on the clearance rack of a used book store, I snatched it up. I don't always have a lot of time for personal-choice reading, but it will be nice to have around to get to "someday."

See what others have to say about Rebecca in the 5 Minutes for Books Classics Bookclub. If you've read it recently, you can write up your own post and link it in, or just hop over and leave a comment.


Amy said...

This is my second time through Rebecca, and I've been thinking after this I would like to explore of DuMaurier's works. Great review!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I agree with you on The 13th Tale...unlike anything I'd ever read, which made me want to read Rebecca.

I also thought Maxim was distant, and I was constantly frustrated with him. Once the truth was revealed, I could understand why he was so distant, though.

Great review, Jennifer!

Carrie said...

I too was frusterated by Maxim's distance (which is why it's so satisfying when he finally declares his love!) but I was MORE irritated by the weakness of the narrator! That she would put up with it . . . (and that tells you what kind of person I am!)

Anyway, you read my post already so you know my thoughts!

I read (and loved) My Cousin Rachel by Du Maurier and I've been curious about Jamaca Inn so if you beat me to it, you'll definitely have to post a review of it!

Bluestocking said...

I haven't read this one. I did see part of the movie. Rebecca was quite a woman. I couldn't understand why everyone was so obsessed with her. She didn't sound like a prize.

Lisa writes... said...

I too would be interested in hearing what you thought of Jamaica Inn. I haven't read anything else by Du Maurier; are all her novels gothic/mystery types?

ibeeeg said...

Loved your review.
I too had to consult Wikipedia in order sort out the different types of writings. I now know what defines gothic romance.

I was, in a strange way, terribly moved by this story. It is haunting.

I was camping all week, just posted my review review.

Carie said...

Rebecca is one of my favorite novels. Reminds me of Jane Eyre, and since I love gothic novels,.... My summer class ends tomorrow night, so I may just have to go pick up Rebecca and read it again!

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

I really liked Rebecca when I read it next year and keep meaning to look for another book by Du Maurier to read. Looking forward to your thoughts on Jamaica Inn.