Beginnings

Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rebecca- Daphne du Maurier

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters

Published:  1938
Pages:  448
ISBN:  9781844080380
Genre:  Suspense/Mystery

Start Date:  April 22, 2011
Finished Date:  May 4, 2011 (13 days)

Where Found:  Borrowed from my mom
Why Read:  It's my mom's favourite book and I wanted to see what it was like.  It was also on my TBR list.

Summary:  A young, impressionable woman is swept off her feet by a rich older man who brings her home to his estate, Manderley, where she feels compared to and less favourable than his dead first wife, Rebecca.

Review:

There is something charming about a story set in England, even if it is a mystery shrouded in deceit and deception like Rebecca.  The language is so crisp and the characters so familiar that it feels as if you have known this book and are instantly drawn to its story.  Nothing is ever quite what it seems and it becomes so complicated that trust is a slippery slope for the reader.  Characters make decisions that are awkward, cringeworthy, even shocking.  What is most fascinating about the plot is how little actually happens but what does occur is presented with such depth and analysis that you sometimes forget how isolated and small the story actually is.

The story moves along at a somewhat slow pace but very soon, things begin piling up and every occasion has a hint to consider in solving the mysteries of the Manderley household, both past and present.  I especially enjoyed Beatrice and her down-to-earth wit.  She cracked me up and really let the tension of the story subside when she visited.  Of course, Max de Winter cannot help but be considered rather partriarchal and overprotective, but then again, the new Mrs. de Winter is quite naive and often completely unaware of what she got herself into.  This may shock those of you who have read Rebecca or seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie (being a huge fan, I'm saddened to say that I haven't yet watched the movie, though I highly intend to), Mrs. Danvers was not quite as villainous as I expected her to be...at least from the onset.  After a certain *ahem* wardrobe malfunction in the story is when I really loathed her.  Now don't get me wrong...I didn't ever find her likeable, but she didn't come across as the essential villain either.  I think the unconventionality of her as an antagonist was clever and added to the deception of the story.  As for the title character, the first Mrs. de Winter was mysterious, powerful, and literally drop dead gorgeous...what could ever be wrong with her?! :D

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely re-read it to catch all of the subtle nuances that I missed prior to the very surprising twist (or two...or maybe it was three?).  I would highly recommend it to mystery lovers and literature lovers alike.  I've never really been able to say this about any other book I've reviewed (though not to say it isn't true about many other books), but it is universally appealing, timeless, and very few books have a literary style comparable to Daphne du Maurier.

If you have read du Maurier before, I would love some further recommendations.  I'm interested in Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel.  Are they just as good?  Better?  Worse?  Please advise!

Rank:  (A)- Excellent, Highly Recommend

14 comments:

  1. I love Rebecca! I haven't read any of her other works. I'll be interested to see the recommendations that you get.

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  2. I really love this book. In the film version, Mrs. Danvers is so scary!

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  3. Rebecca is a classic. I loved it when I first read it and it's still great today.

    A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie "The Uninvited" which is a black and white classic from way back. It reminded me of Rebecca and made me want to reread the book. The movie is about a brother and sister who move into a haunted mansion but the way it was shot made me think of the movie version of Rebecca.

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  4. Loved this book, although the end was very unsettling for me. I have her collection of short stories and My Cousin Rachel too, but have yet to read them.

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  5. I read this years ago and would love to reread it. thanks for this reminder and encouragement!

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  6. Great review. Rebecca has been in my TBR pile for two years, and I still haven't read past the first chapter. Your review convinced me to give it another try. :)

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  7. This is one my favourite books of all time (if not my favourite book of all time)! I am reading at the moment for perhaps close to the 300,000th time (although that may be exaggerating a little bit). Although the nameless main character is absolutely so frustrating and annoying I love this book and I think that what I love about it the most is the language - the imagery. I can't think of Rebecca without conjuring aup images of giant rhodadenderon bushes and hydrangeas. Stunning

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  8. i love, love, love this book, as well! :D

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  9. I really liked this book a lot also-really build up suspense and is very atmospheric

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  10. I'm always amazed at how many people love this book so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. I, however, read it for book club last year and didn't enjoy it at all!

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  11. I have to make time to read this one of these days! Thanks for the review!

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  12. I love this book. I've read My Cousin Rachel and Jamiaca Inn. Neither is quite as good, but I thought Rachel was close. And the movie (Rebecca) was amazing!

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  13. SO glad you enjoyed this one. Such a great mystery and such a great narrator. Mrs. Danvers is one of my favorite villians - she's so horrible. Great review. I'm very anxious to read Jamaica Inn in the comming months.

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  14. Must be an enjoyable read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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