Category Archives: Rebecca

Rebecca Review

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Published: 1938
Pages: ~408
Completed: Yes
Enjoyed: Yes

Seriousness: Has some lighter/funnier moments, but generally very serious
Genre: Intrigue/mystery
Difficulty: Not too difficult, depending on how much you can put up with the main character’s imagination
Rating: M – mentions of violence and other nastiness

Recommend: Yes

Up next … Beloved, by Toni Morrison; a novel about slavery recommended by Oprah. I admit to already being a little apprehensive (more from the endorsement than the subject matter). It may have to wait till after Christmas, anyway.

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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Rebecca, Review


The Plot Thickens

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Rebecca comes to a very interesting conclusion. I’ll try and talk about it without spoilers, but I am only human, so read with caution. While I do ascribe to the viewpoint that often the journey is more important than the destination, knowing the details of the destination can rob the journey of its intrigue. Rather like if I gave you a puzzle to solve and told you the answer was 4 – you’d likely have little motivation to explore the puzzle and try to discover its secrets for yourself.

As suggested, it’s sort-of a murder mystery, in that it is mysterious, and there is murder. However, the mystery is not so much about the identity/method of the murderer (which is revealed fairly promptly), but the repercussions. How will this effect the characters? Will the murderer get away with it? Have they actually achieved what they set out to achieve? Can you believe everything about their story?

I found I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The main character is annoying in her youthful flights-of-fancy, lack of self-confidence, and tendency to melodrama, but she is real; you can easily imagine a real person acting like that in such circumstances. It’s always an odd feeling to have a character that is unpleasant or irritating, but is still compelling/likeable enough that you want to keep reading about them. Rather the opposite of what I found with The Wasp Factory, where a vague curiosity about the ending was the only motivation – hence skipping ahead to the last chapter. I guess different people will engage with different characters, however, in the same way that we all get on screamingly well with … but can’t stand … .

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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Rebecca, Wasp Factory


The Unseen Presence

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Rebecca is a rather odd character in that she doesn’t actually appear in her eponymous novel; she is the first wife of the main character’s husband, who has died before any of the events described. Never-the-less, her presence permeates the novel, leaving a palpable sense of unease, both to the main character (who is never named), and the reader.

At the half-way point, the heroine is increasingly uncomfortable and unsure of herself as she tries to adapt to a grand estate which has been, and continues to be, run to Rebecca’s exacting standards. The heroine feels she will never fully understand the place, nor live up to the legacy of her predecessor. It doesn’t help that the housekeeper (who in some ways rather reminds me of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series) resents her for trying to take Rebecca’s place.

I think anyone would be able to relate to the sense of being thrust into a situation one feels unprepared for, trying vainly to not make a fool of oneself and yet seeming to do exactly that, and being far too worried about what other people are thinking of you when they probably aren’t. We’ve all been young (or in some cases still are). Yet despite all of the heroine’s longing for a time when she is older and has gotten the hang of things, I don’t think it’s a coming-of-age story (or, at least, that’s not the main theme). There’s too much of an underlying sense of tragedy, whether something that has already happened that people are unable to move on from, or something that will happen. The latter is definitely implied by the fact that the heroine is not wanting to think about later events, and prefers to think back to this time when they were newlyweds; one feels that if this time was so awkward, stressful, and unpleasant, something really bad must have happened later.

Still, we shall see. Later events may vindicate me, or prove me a fool. That’s half the fun of this process, after all. 😉


Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Rebecca