Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Pages:  410
Release Date:  This edition - 2008; first edition - 1938
Date Read:  2011, October 14th - November 12th
Received: Own
Rating:  5/5 stars
Recommended to:  15+

Summary -
"Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again." 

So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past their beaches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley.  (From Goodreads)

My thoughts -
Golly goodness I really really really love this book.  It is one of the most unique, thought-out, and weirdly fascinating books I have ever read and probably will ever read.  It was recommended to me by so many people and I found it for less than $2, almost brand new, at a 2nd hand store, and couldn't pass it up.  I've found myself getting into the idea of Gothic novels and was quite interested...

By the end of this reading experience (for it is an experience), I had been shocked so many times it was almost impossible not to give it five stars on the spot.  But not only did it shock me - it made me love it, incredibly so.  I love this book; and for that, five stars in inevitable.

Character notes -
The second Mrs. de Winter is quite extraordinary, for many reasons.  One is her name in and of itself.  I say this because she does not have one.  As the story is told in first person, she does not introduce herself;  her name is mentioned once as being hard to spell, that people usually get it wrong; and after she marries Max she is called by everyone she knows as "Mrs. de Winter".  It was quite shocking for me to discover half-way through the book, that I had missed her first name, and I that I was such a terrible reader for missing such an important detail like that.  I re-read parts of the beginning, asked around and discovered the truth:  she has no first name because it is not important.  What is important is that she is the second Mrs. de Winter.
Besides that, she amazed me by totally getting on my nerves sometimes and still being a fantastic character who I could relate to and love.  How did she annoy me?  Her lack of ability to speak out sometimes drove me up the wall with thoughts of, "Goodness!  Why won't she just say something?!  After being so ill-treated!"  But it was her character; she became like a friend; I could love her in spite of that fault (and whatever others to her name...or lack thereof).  And in the end - well, she's quite the lioness at the end.  I love books with changed heroes/heroines. :D

Besides Mrs. de Winter, the other characters are so perfectly drawn for the reader that it is hard to forget them.  Frank (one of my top three favorites - he was soooo awesome), Maxim's sister, Max himself, Mrs. Danvers, and Favell especially, but there are others, and they, too, are profound.

And Rebecca, even being a mere ghost of a character, is still shockingly real.  Everything about her made my skin crawl - and I didn't even know why.  You won't know why either.  There is no exact reason why I felt that way, and you will wonder... Oh, you will wonder.

Story notes -
This is such a unique story - and so weird.  Everything happened in a way that made me weirded out with no real explanation whatsoever as to why.  (See above comment on the character Rebecca.)  And then - BOOM!  There's an explosion, and you'll be holding on for dear life, because there's no possible way this could really be happening.

At least, that's how I felt.  I was on an airplane when I read the climax - the EXPLOSION - and holy crud don't ever do that.  Confined to a chair with quiet people all around me and flight attendants scanning the rows with narrowed eyes, searching for disturbance of any kind  - yeah, don't ever try it.  Best to wait until you've landed, read it when you get home, and whoop and holler and scream and stare in shocked silence as much as you want.  All I could do was hyperventilate in a very quiet manner.  Haha - just kidding!   Sort of.

Summing it up -
Shocking, to say the least.  I did not expect it to be the way it was, with the writing style or the set-up or the conflict or the climax or the resolution.  All of it was unexpected and perfect.  Please, do yourself a favor and read this book, now.  Unless you have the tendency to scream when shocked and are currently on an airplane.  If this unfortunate combination applies to you, please wait until you have reached a safe environment before expression appropriate feelings of exuberance and/or show signs of sudden startled or disconcerted emotions.

For the Parents -
This is a classic, and should be treated as such (which means everyone should read it at least once).  However, themes are slightly more mature, and I wouldn't recommend to anyone younger than 15.  Some brief strong language and lots of...death.  But I can't say anything else!! ;)


  1. I LOVE your blog!! and thanks for putting the age recommendation in your reviews, because I'm only 13 but and avid reader :)
    Have you read "The Hunger Games" Trilogy by Suzanne Collins?? because from what you review, you would probably REALLY enjoy them!  Thanks!

  2. I've wanted to read this ever since I fell in love with the movie. I'm glad it's just as good (maybe better?).

  3. I haven't seen the movie and from what I've heard the book is a million times better.  I kind of want to check out the movie, though, just to see for myself. ;)
    Thanks for commenting! :D

  4. You are welcome, Jamma! :D  I hope you find the recommendations helpful.  I have not read The Hunger Games yet but plan to very soon, hopefully all three in January. Thanks for the comment! :D