Acrophobic—My Hatred of (Wuthering) Heights

Here’s the thing about me and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

I hate it. Yet I’m unable to let it go.

I don’t get it. Yes, it’s a masterpiece, and many people love the thing. I’ve also repeatedly heard it described as “horrifyingly beautiful,” and, although that should be right up my alley, I can't get on board.

I’m not obtuse and I do recognize some of its merit. I can also see why it’s earned the status of classic. Considering the period and the fact she was a woman, Brontë deserves credit for choosing such controversial themes. Never mind that she was apparently a mean stick-in-the-mud and that she died thinking her novel was a failure. And never mind that most of what we know about her comes from Charlotte Brontë, who didn’t seem particularly fond of her sister.

Yet, despite whatever respect I can muster for Brontë, reading Wuthering Heights was a trial. This was, in large part, because I found it impossible to get emotionally invested in any of the characters. Let’s be frank; it’s a book about awful people being awful to each other. Basically what you’d get by turning on any reality TV show—and yes, I concede there’s a market for that.

For me though, the main sticking point is that the whole thing is a second-hand account, even third- or fourth-hand at times! Granted, this format works well in many stories, but with this one, it felt like a drawn-out gossip session—something I’ve never had much patience for. As the novel came to a close, I was essentially feeling it had about as much merit as a tabloid.

Still, I remained naïvely hopeful. I’d been promised the height of tragedy, and surely a book so treasured would deliver. With but a few pages left, I distinctly remember thinking: “I swear, if this thing goes ‘Hollywood’ on me, I’m going to throw it at a wall.”

The book fell flat and, true to my word, it got thrown.

Now, you may think my mind is made up, but since I can’t seem to let the damned book go, I figure I ought to give it another chance. With that in mind, I’ve decided to read it again, and try to pinpoint why I so passionately detest it. The enterprise may be masochistic and part of me even worries I’ll end up liking the book. Though, when it comes down to it, I suppose it’s appropriate to hate a book about hate.

Either way, it’s high time I put this matter to rest.

Heathcliff and Catherine | "Awful people being awful to each other"  Photo Credit: Hark! A Vagrant

Heathcliff and Catherine | "Awful people being awful to each other"
Photo Credit: Hark! A Vagrant


Amanda Simard

Amanda is an aspiring content creator currently trying to navigate the world of blogging. When she isn’t busy tripping over her own feet, she can usually be found with either her ukulele or her phone in hand. An avid reader and a dedicated friend, her writing reflects her many passions.

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