Monday, November 10, 2008

REBECCA by DAPHNE du MAURIER - Book Review

Okay, Rebecca is a classic and I’ve even seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie – maybe 30 years ago. This mystery-movie was filled with shadowy suspense and intrigue; however, the book is an entirely different beast.

Du Maurier fills the story with beautiful settings, scenes and thoughtful reflections but, for me, it was rather slow. I actually had trouble getting through the entire story.

I was half-way through the book when my book club met to discuss it – and I can usually read a book in a day or two. But, nowadays, life competes with my reading time so the story has to be quick-paced to keep my attention.

Maybe I’m a little ADHD – but Rebecca would not be on MY list of “must reads”. I know there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with me because, like I said, after all, it is a classic and the book that du Maurier is most known for.

I'm not saying anything to knock Daphne du Maurier. She is a beautiful wordsmith and able to get the reader “into” the story but, for me, it was just too slow.

Another odd thing about this book is that du Maurier never names the main character. It's not until after she marries Maxim that she becomes Mrs. de Winter but she is always overshadowed by his first wife: the beautiful Rebecca – so much so that she never has a name of her own.

By the time the second Mrs. De Winter (the unnamed MC of this book) comes down the stairs for the ball, I knew what she’d be wearing and what would happen – so no surprise there. And, by the time Maxim revealed the truth to her, I knew what he was going to say – so no suspense or mystery there for me either. And, without Hitchcock’s wonderful cinematography, I found the book lacking.

Maybe in the late summer of 1937, when Daphne started to write Rebecca, life moved at a slower pace and weaving words in a wonderful mesmerizing way was enough for most readers but, like I said before, it was too slow for me and I found my mind wandering away from the story.

But, if you are looking for a quiet, slow, literary read of an old classic, perhaps Rebecca is just the book for you. And, the last third of the book IS interesting - especially if you've stuck with it to get here.

Here is one more review, in case you want a second opinion.

7 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Hmmmm, thanks for the honest review. I know many who love this book, but I don't think it's for me--for the reasons you post!

Kelly said...

I have not read it, nor seen the movie...I think I might check out Hitchcock's version!

cindy said...

i found it interesting that rebecca is considered a gothic novel? i remember enjoying it when i read it over a decade ago!

Marcia said...

I read Rebecca for the first time maybe 6 or 8 years ago. I'm not big on slow-moving books either, but I LOVED Rebecca. I found it absolutely fitting that the narrator doesn't have a name. The dead Rebecca so takes center stage that the narrator's name doesn't matter.

Jean Matthew Hall said...

Thanks, Kim. I'll bet you finished it in the Charlotte-Douglas airport, didn't you?

Blessings,
Jean
http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com

Kim Kasch said...

I did Jean and then I was on to Dead Until Dark - another vampire romance novel.

moonrat said...

yes, i agree, it was slow and rather overwritten. if i had been her editor i would have made her get it down under 300 pages ;)