I finished Rebecca in a marathon reading session today — I know I read over half the book. I think it’s right about that point in the story when the novel becomes impossible to put down.
Though this novel is just the sort that is right up my alley in a variety of ways, I had not read it before, and I’m not sure why. I know I had plans to read it… eventually. I’m really glad I did because I loved it.
If you are unfamiliar with the basic plot, Rebecca is told from the viewpoint of a young woman who marries the fabulously wealthy and mysterious Maxim de Winter. The narrator is never named, which was a clever device of writer Daphne du Maurier’s — it plays up the omnipresent specter of Rebecca, Maxim’s perfect, deceased first wife.
Du Maurier’s excellent descriptions brought Manderley, the de Winter ancestral mansion, to vivid life, and the story was well constructed. I was pleased to find some of my predictions came true, but many twists and turns made it impossible to see how it would end. In addition, her characters were realistically painted and seemed to walk right out of the pages into the flesh.
The only real criticism I have to offer about the story is that I felt it took a while to get into. Once Maxim and the narrator marry, the plot moves along nicely, but the beginning was somewhat slow; however, it might have been necessary to build slowly in order to give the reader the necessary information, and, I might add, perhaps mislead the reader a bit about the characters in order to retain the ending’s surprise. I should also add that my particular copy, the mass market paperback, was rife with annoying typos. Of course, you pretty much get what you pay for with mass market, so perhaps you would do better to buy the trade paperback or hardcover, both of which might have fewer typos.
I’m really glad I chose to read this novel for the R.I.P. Challenge. It was an excellent story. I am going to run out and rent the Hitchcock movie and hope that it does the book justice, for I’ve not seen the movie either.
[tags]rebecca, daphne du maurier, r.i.p. challenge, literature, review, book[/tags]