Book Review: Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
This year marks 80 years since Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, one of the best books of the 20th century.
This classic English novel was first published in 1938 and continues to sell well to this day having never been out of print. I bought my first copy last year. I can understand why it became her most famous book. This is a thoroughly enjoyable deep and meaningful novel that is wholly deserving of all the praise it gets.
The book is centred around two female characters, one being the current wife of Mr de Winter and the other being the dead first wife. The new Mrs de Winter (who in fitting with the character remains nameless throughout the book) has just settled into Manderley, a year after the previous Mrs de Winter died. As a young woman, she has her own personal battles to fight, trying to discover her own identity, while she plays the obedient wife. Quite the opposite to the very adored (not least by Mrs Danvers the housekeeper), confident yet rebellious Rebecca, whose name evidently is never far from everyone lips and thus continues to haunt to new young and vulnerable Mrs de Winter. How is she expected to live up to the perfect Rebecca? How much of Rebecca's presence at Manderley is down to the imagination of Mrs de Winter and her own insecurities and how much of it is justified? Either way, it leaves an air of suspense throughout the book.
This isn't just a novel to read, it draws you into the story in a way most other novels don't, it's got real depth and meaning to it. It's impossible not to reflect on your own personality and more importantly accept who you are because those you aspire to or admire or envy have their own misgivings and may not be the glorified person they are betrayed to be.
Some books you read that you absolutely love but a year later you will forget characters names but not this one! You will always remember Rebecca, (the new) Mrs de Winter, Max de Winter and Mrs Danvers. A timeless classic novel that you will never forget. All the topics are relatable to the present day and will continue to; love, envy, aspirations, money, class anxiety, insecurities, finding your own way in life. Don't women still stress about these things? And quite often, what we perceive is all in our own heads, it's not real.
One of the best books ever written. I wasn't disappointed coming to the end of this book, because I knew I would pick it up again some day and enjoy it once more.