So here goes: Day One, my favorite book. I know I already told you about it.
My favorite book is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
A long time ago I read a review of this book where the review felt the book was not believable and expressed her disbelief that anyone could ever feel that out of place, introverted, and self-conscious all the time. But when I read the book I thought “finally, someone who feels like me.” That’s probably pretty sick. Quick summary for those who haven’t read it: Mrs. de Winter, who is so out of place she’s not even given a name [edit: I just thought of it, but this might be one of the reasons why I identified so strongly with the main character. I hate my real name so much and just hearing it makes me feel out of place. This name I’m using now is actually a pen name. Yeah, I’ve been lying to you], marries a widower who is several years older than her. Adding to her discomfort, he is very wealthy and she is working class (before she met Maxim, she was a paid companion to a wealthy and snobby American woman vacationing in Monte Carlo). He brings her to his home (Manderley…I have a friend who grew up in a house with a name not an address, and I think that’s pretty weird), and everyone talks about how different she is from Rebecca, the first Mrs. de Winter. How beautiful and classy she was, and how she threw the best parties and could do anything and always knew the right thing to say and how everyone loved her. Mrs. de Winter feels insecure but eventually learns things are not exactly as they seem.
I love the (few) times when Maxim is being funny. Like when Mrs. de Winter tells him not to treat her as though she were six and that she wishes he would treat her “like other men treat their wives.” He says, “knock you about, do you mean?” (No, domestic violence isn’t funny.) I love the description of the snob Mrs. Van Hopper. I picture her to be exactly like one of my friend’s from growing up, who turned out to be a complete snob.
The first few chapters are slow. I know people who had trouble with them and put the book down. I wish I could have told them to keep plowing through. It picks up.
Though I’m not really a fan, I need to mention the Alfred Hitchcock adaptation. Since so much of the book took place inside Mrs. de Winter’s head, it was probably difficult to make into a movie. But the Academy liked it. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and won best picture. (The Birds was a much better Hitchcock adaptation of her work, and I still have not seen Jamaica Inn.)