Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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Title: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Premise:

As children, Heathcliff and Catherine are inexorably drawn together.  Despite their differing natures and weaknesses of character, one can scarcely exist without the other.  Catherine’s haughtiness drives Heathcliff away and stirs him to make his way in the world.  When Heathcliff returns, life at Wuthering Heights will never be the same.  Heathcliff can’t let go of the past and seeks revenge for every real and imagined slight he suffered there.  He and Catherine are like two stars destined to crash into one another and destroy everything near them.

My thoughts:

I first read Wuthering Heights in high school because it was required reading.  I don’t even remember what I thought of it back then, except that it was a bit spooky.  Reading it now, it’s not the spookiness that struck me so much as the examination of human nature.  Heathcliff is such a diabolical character and seems completely beyond redemption.  And yet, despite the fact that he was a dastardly villain, I couldn’t bring myself to truly dislike him.  There’s a part in all of us which feels satisfaction in seeing someone else get revenge on those who have done them wrong.  I’m not saying I condone it, but something in my psyche wants Heathcliff to avenge himself.  Perhaps that’s the lasting draw of this novel — its ability to make the reader examine good and evil in his fellow man, but also in himself.

When you think about when this book was written, it was a very daring tale for its time.  Especially when you consider that it came from a relatively inexperienced young lady.  It’s impressive that she was so adept at capturing human nature and what makes the human race feel hatred, love, and every shade of emotion in between.

This was such an engrossing read for me, that the last part of the book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.  I simply couldn’t put it down and had to learn the fate of Heathcliff, as well as his young charges.  The ending is so fitting and perfect.  It was a completely satisfying read.  Highly recommended!

I recommend Wuthering Heights to fans of classic literature and anyone who enjoys a messed up love story.

Possible Objections:

  • A little bit of bad language
  • A derogatory term for a loose female is used a few times
  • Some violence

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom by Marcelo D’Salete

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Title: Run for It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Freedom by Marcelo D’Salete

Premise:

This book contains four short stories about slavery in Brazil and the way that slaves resisted it to the best of their ability.  Chapters include: Kalunga, Sumidouro, Cumbe, and Malungo.

My thoughts:

This was an interesting read, and I’m still not sure exactly how to process it.  It’s a story told mostly in pictures with minimal text, and you really have to read between the lines and study the pictures to know what is happening.  It’s not really a book about right and wrong.  Readers are shown some very difficult situations and experiences, and how people reacted under those circumstances.  Sometimes violence begets violence.  The stories don’t have warm, cushy endings.  However, they do show the resilience of those who languished under slavery and their determination to be free from oppression.  It shines a glaring light on the moral corruption which accompanies slavery.

Certainly, you have to read the two short introductory blurbs at the beginning of the book to get the context for the stories.  Even then, there is a lot of background information which isn’t included.  I wish there had been a bit more about Brazil’s history with slavery, but maybe this book could be seen as a jumping off point for readers to seek out additional sources.

The drawings are in black and white, so even in the scenes with violence you don’t see graphic blood or anything.  Also, the drawings are somewhat stylized, so things that might be too much if done with a lot of detail are less offensive to look at.

I recommend Run For It to older teens and adults who want to learn more about slavery and resistance.  It wasn’t just an issue in the United States, but that’s where a lot of the currently available literature takes place.  Also a note on the possible objection of seeing a woman’s bare chest–this book adopts the traditional African view of a woman’s chest being utilitarian more than erotic.  It’s for feeding children and there’s nothing shameful or sexually charged in that.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence
  • Bare women’s chests
  • A couple of rape scenes (not graphic)

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued - WM

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Here’s another book from my Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge.  I finished this book the other day, after going through it at a pace that was a little quicker than I would have liked.  I think this kind of book is best processed when you can go through it slowly, taking time to think about and implement the practices between chapters.

Unglued is a book that aims to help women deal with their raw emotions and figure out better ways to react to trying situations.  Lysa talks about how women can come unglued when they are put under trying circumstances, but that they don’t have to react in destructive ways.  According to Lysa, there are four reaction types: stuffer that builds barriers, stuffer that collects retaliation rocks, exploder that shames herself, and exploder that blames others.  The ideal emotional reaction that she wants readers to experience is called “soul integrity”.

I definitely relate to what Lysa is talking about when it comes to raw emotional reactions.  And I can see how I react in the ways she talks about, though it can be different depending on who or what I’m reacting to.  Unglued gave me a few reminders about different ways to deal with my emotions and how I can deal with trying situations in a more healthy manner.  So that part was good.

I’ll confess though, it wasn’t the most interesting read.  The writing style was not terribly impressive and seemed a little unpolished at times.

One other thing you should know is that Lysa’s examples deal with annoyances that are rather trivial.  She doesn’t talk about more serious situations such as betrayal, assault, etc.  Those situations create more intense and prolonged feelings which need to be dealt with in more depth and treated a bit differently.  That’s just my own belief.

I would recommend this book to women who find themselves getting annoyed at the petty things in life.  Whether you stuff or explode, there are some insights here that will probably help you deal with your emotions in a more positive manner.

Rating: 2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein

Missing Piece

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The Missing Piece is about a circle with a piece missing who goes in search of it.  He sings a song while he is rolling along.  He goes up hills and down hills, into holes and across oceans.

Some of the pieces he meets are too big, too small, too long, etc.  One day he finds a piece that fits, but he can’t sing anymore or say ‘hi’ to the butterflies.  He decides to put the piece down and rolls away.  It’s quite obvious that this book is really about people who “fit” and those who don’t.

I like the pictures.  They are pretty simple.

Bubba says goodbye!