While searching through my streaming Netflix options the other day, I found a new Masterpiece Theater version of Wuthering Heights, one of my favorite books. I immediately put it in my queue and settled in to watch Heathcliff and Catherine behave badly. The movie reminded me how much I love the book and I got out my highlighted, margin written, dog eared copy to read my favorite scenes.
In doing so, I was reminded that even though I LOVE Wuthering Heights, my BFF, Amazing Ashley, HATES it. As long time blog readers know, Amazing Ashley is an English Lit. professor. Our tastes in books run parallel 99% of the time. Wuthering Heights is the one book we disagree on. Ashley is not a fan of how awful the characters are to each other, and despises the fact that most people misinterpret the book as a great love story.
I, on the other hand, think it's absolutely a love story--one laced with a potent combination of jealousy, revenge, and hatred. Catherine and Heathcliff's actions are deplorable. They are so horrible to each other and the people around them that they can't be anything but soul mates. They are the only two people who truly understand each other. I also love the characterization and dialogue, as well as the strong emotions the characters and story provoke. There are some scenes between Heathcliff and Catherine that are so heated, you don't know whether anger, love, lust, or a combination of all three is driving the scene.
I applaud any book that makes people question what they believe, and Wuthering Heights crossed lines that both invigorated and infuriated people. Emily Brontë wrote one novel before she died. Wuthering Heights was originally published under the male pen name, Ellis Bell. It caused an uproar in England for it's immoral themes and became even more scandalous when people found out it was actually written by a woman who was the daughter of a vicar. In fact, the first time I read it, I remember thinking repeatedly: Holy 1800s! How did Brontë get away with that? Yes, it was shocking at the time, and to an extent, it's even shocking now. Yet, Wuthering Heights still remains one of the most popular books of all time and it's never been out of print.
My Wuthering Heights disagreement with Amazing Ashley made me wonder about books that have been divisive in other people's lives. So, here's my question: What books do you love/hate that friends, family, or the general public disagree with you on?