I gave Wuthering Bites a fair try. I actually read up to page 52. There will be no more vampires in my Wuthering Heights. Well, maybe psychological vampires, but not real ones. I honestly don’t think that mashing up Wuthering Heights with a vampire story is a bad idea, but the execution of the mash-up is what I object to. It’s sloppy. Every once in a while there is a random reference to the huge vampire problem Yorkshire seems to have developed. Some of it was funny, but funny bad, not funny ha-ha. I just can’t force myself through it anymore. What makes me sad is that my department chair bought me this book for my birthday. Oh, the perils of giving books as gifts! You just never know if the other person is going to enjoy it. I tried to! I really did want to like this book, and I think I gave it longer than I ordinarily would have.
I don’t think it’s my sense of humor. I can laugh at parodies of just about anything I love, but good parodies, you know? An example, so that you can see what I mean:
Mr. Heathcliff formed a contrast to his abode. Despite his dark-haired, dark-eyed gypsy looks, in dress and manners he seems a gentleman country squire. By his appearance, some might suspect a degree of underbred pride; gypsies are known for such arrogance, and I wonder if he could be one of them. Since the infestation of the vampires, the gypsy vampire slayers have become bold in their haughtiness. With some right, as it is their skill and courage to keep the beasties from devouring all of us and taking over our fair country. But I am running too fast, bestowing attributes on Mr. Heathcliff that might be unfounded. (4)
If you care, this is the passage’s “inspiration” in the original Wuthering Heights:
But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire: rather slovenly, perhaps, yet not looking amiss with his negligence, because he has an erect and handsome figure; and rather morose. Possibly, some people might suspect him of a degree of under-bred pride; I have a sympathetic chord within that tells me it is nothing of the sort: I know, by instinct, his reserve springs from an aversion to showy displays of feelingâ€”to manifestations of mutual kindliness. He’ll love and hate equally under cover, and esteem it a species of impertinence to be loved or hated again. No, I’m running on too fast: I bestow my own attributes over-liberally on him. (5-6)
So, yeah. There’s that. The biggest problem is that the vampires are just sort of plopped in there, and only serve to garble the plot. I decided to read the last page. If you plan to read this book, and I don’t recommend it, then close your eyes.
In this book, Lockwood marries Nelly Dean.
Yep. Here it goes:
In truth, it was more than the promised adventure that drew me; it was the seductive [!!!â€”sorry, had to interrupt; you may carry on] and fascinating Mrs. Dean. A gentleman I am, and a man of breeding and quality I do claim to be, but in fact, my own father was born into a family of shipwrights, and I learned honest labor before I was ever tucked off to Cambridge and the life of my betters. My parents and siblings and every last stitch and knob of kin have vanished, and if I wished to take a clever and loving woman to wife, what care I if she began her days below stairs? (361-362)
Wait, what? Stitch and knob? What the @#$%& is that supposed to mean? I Googled it, and I get three references to cars and one to a sewing machine.
Oh, and Hareton and young Cathy burn Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange to the ground. Gah. I wish I’d closed my own eyes.
OK, you can open your eyes now.
I don’t often make it a practice to review books I don’t finish, but I’m not likely to finish this one, and frankly, I don’t want anyone else to waste their time. Unless spontaneously bleeding from your eyes is, you know, your “thing.”
God, I hope this mash-up craze dies soon.
Update, 10/24/10: The BrontÃ«Blog has reviewed this book (they agree with me, so you can assume I’m not crazy. In case you were.)