Daughter, 15, finally bored with 'Twilight' — and into 'Wuthering Heights'

My daughter began devouring, and then re-devouring, the Twilight novels back when she was 12. Stephenie Meyer had yet to finish the series and, at that point, the only people who had heard of the books were a million obsessive fans, plus a nation’s worth of grateful bookstore owners. (Entertainment Weekly actually began covering the Twilight phenom so early because my daughter’s enthusiasm suggested there was a big audience out there that the national media was ignoring. By the way, she thinks the movies are lame, so please don’t blame her for EW’s admittedly thorough coverage.) Anyway, my daughter — I’ll refer to her here as Llama, because she thinks llamas are hilarious for some reason — waited for each successive Twilight book in the same ecstatic agony that Bella waited for Edward. Like the Harry Potter books, Meyer’s novels became comfort objects as much as anything else: There was always one in her possession.

Because Meyer loves Wuthering Heights, she made it Bella’s favorite book. My daughter, Llama, tried reading Emily Brontë’s novel when she was 13 or so, but couldn’t get into it. (Judging from Charlotte Brontë’s preface to her sister’s novel, Charlotte Brontë couldn’t even get into it.) For Christmas, I bought Llama one of the cool new editions of Wuthering Heights specifically marketed to the Twilight generation. I went for the cool, sort of Edward Gorey-ish cover, not the one with just the hokey red rose. Long story sped up: She loves it and has already decoded all Stephenie Meyer’s allusions and literary debts to Bronte. Wuthering Heights, in all its weird, gothic glory, has always been my favorite of the “great books,” and seeing Llama insist on carrying a copy around is something I can’t thank Meyer enough for. In reading, as in addiction, there are gateway drugs, and Meyer’s Edward Cullen has introduced my daughter to Heathcliffe.

Any of this ring any bells for you? What are the books you love to see your friends, or kids, fall in love with? Has one novel ever sent you on a mission to devour another?

Comments (98 total) Add your comment
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  • JLC

    Pride and Prejudice….and Zombies.

    • Heather

      Is it bad that I have been reading that and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters with the original right next to me to compare the differences?

      • Heat

        Not at all. I did the same thing with P&P&Z.

    • Lala

      Gotta love the zombies. And the ninjas… I couldn’t stop laughing! I’m not a big Austen fan (I did like the movie adaptations of Sense and Sensibility and Emma, though) but I bought P&P&Z the first time I heard about it, and it was pretty entertaining.

      • Gorges

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    • castiella

      I’m starting to think I might actually need to read this.

      • Stephanie

        Read it. I’m a big P&P fan, so I got P&P&Z as a gift. I loved it! Well worth the fun, probably especially if you haven’t ever read an Austin novel. It’ll make them go down easier. :P

  • Trish

    Like your daughter, I love the Twilight series (but I agree that the movies are lame)…Wuthering Heights however is my all-time favorite book, and I loved it long before I read Twilight.

    • kate

      Same here. It has always been my favourite of the classics and I love to see that the Twilight series (which I thoroughly enjoyed) has renewed peoples interest in novels like Wurthering Heights. Good on you Stephenie Meyer.

      • amy

        I’m with Charlotte Bronte – I just can’t get into Wuthering Heights. Charlotte’s “Jane Eyre” is a far superior work of fiction, in my opinion.

      • Josie

        I agree with Amy above. I found Jane Eyre when I was 10. I have read it about once a year on average since. I tried Wuthering Heights, but I just could get into it enough.

    • kate

      I love Wuthering Heights. It has always been my favourite of the classics and I love to see that the Twilight series (which I thoroughly enjoyed) has renewed peoples interest in novels like Wurthering Heights. Good on you Stephenie Meyer. Even if the reissue covers are tacky.

  • Caryn

    I read a book that make a few mentions of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Now WinW is one of my favorites. Loved it – would suggest it to anyone looking for a good story.

    • CDT

      Literary experts consider it to be the first true mystery novel. Collins was an acolyte of Dickens as well, so you can sense his influence. Very good!

    • hr

      that is a really good book, the musical was kinda weird though…

      • castiella

        There’s a musical!?!

  • Clayton

    I hate that classics are being reissued with Twilight-esque covers, but if it gets younger people reading them and loving them, it’s a small price to pay.

    • kim

      I totally agree – the more we can get people to read – who cares what it is just get them to read! We’re in such a digital age now that you hardly see people reading books anymore. It’s sad – there are amazing things to be read out there

    • Lala

      I feel the same way. Wuthering Heights is a complex, multi-layered masterpiece. It’s not a Twilight substitute, but hopefully it will get younger kids interested in the classics.

  • Kim

    I’m a huge fan of Jane Austen – Once I read Pride and Prejudice I had to get my hands on everything else Jane Austen wrote – Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park. Pride and Prejudice has always been my favorite of all of her novels and I’ve had such a love of Darcy and Lizzie that I now can’t get enough of any sequel book written revolving around those characters. Linda Berdoll, Sharon Lathan just to name a few of the authors I enjoy. I can’t imagine how many books I wouldn’t have read had it not been for Pride and Prejudice starting me.

  • Maddi

    I’m super excited that the new movie has my friends devouring the Sherlock Holmes stories, though kind of miffed that it took RDJ and not my years of prodding to do it!

  • a person

    When I was little I didn’t read until Harry Potter (which got me to read almost any fantacy except lord of the Rings) but once I got into High School,I read Romeo and Juliette which made me fall in love with many classical romance novels-Wuthering Heights is my favorite, followed by Persuasion or Pride and Predujice (Currently Reading Mansfield Park-only one more Jane Austen novel to finish after this!). But when my friend told me to read Twlight-before they were popular I just couldnt get into them-until Eclipse came out which was the best written one in my opinion and based off of Wuthering Heights!

  • RM

    Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier is another great gothic romance!

    • Lala

      Terrific, terrific book. One of my favorites. Very similar to Jane Eyre (but more modern,) and not nearly as appreciated.

      • castiella

        Eyre-esque, eh? I might have to give it a try.

  • jenn

    I love that your daughter is so ashamed of reading Twilight that she asked to be referred to by an assumed name.

    • Elizabeth

      Actually think Dad made the call on the name change “jenn”… if that’s your real name….
      (Dunt dunt, dunnnnnn)

      • jenn

        it was a joke.

      • Stephanie

        I think she knew it was a joke. Teasing can go both ways w/o taking offense.

    • TruthTeller

      You should be grateful she didn’t get converted by the Mormon propaganda in the process!

  • Bellatrix Lestrange

    Wow, I applaud your daughter for getting over this crap. But please we never compare Twilight to Harry Potter. That is a NO NO. I notice you said Finally, believe me there are alot of us that would like to say ” Finally ” about Twilight. Like Finally its all over.

    • CDT

      Don’t get your hopes up: I hear there’s possibly a plan out there for her to rewrite all the books from EDWARD’S point of view. Lord give us strength.

      • Lia

        She started to just rewrite Twilight from Edward’s POV, its called Midnight Sun and a partial draft is available on her website. It was stolen and distributed so now she doesn’t want to finish it but it’s just Twilight not all 4. And its actually really good, I hope she does finish it at some point

      • castiella

        Oh, dear heaven. I hope this is just a rumor. I’ve had enough of this craze. As much as I love that kids are reading, I’d much rather them read something with a little more syntactic and literary merit.

      • Stephanie

        It’s sort of a rumor. She started writing the first one (and only the first) from Edwards point of view. She has no intentions of writing them ALL that way. She posted about half of the book (called Midnight Sun) and it’s pretty good if you’re a twi-hard. It explains A LOT of how and why. She said that much of the first book is more important from his POV and I can see why.

  • Lisa Simpson

    So now we know who to blame.

  • megan

    She would probably also enjoy Jane Eyre. Dark, dramatic, strange romances. Perfect for a teenager.

    • Other Mel

      Yes! Jane Eyre is imho even better than Wuthering Heights. The first time I read it (I was in college), I actually screamed at The Big Plot Twist. I never saw it coming…

      • Kisha

        Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Cristo are what got me reading clasic literature in high school. They are my favorite classics of all time.

      • Anitamargarita

        Kisha, yes! I still remember the first time I saw the Count of Monte Cristo – I knew Dumas was a solid storyteller, but I saw it because I loved Guy Pierce. I was totally blown away by all the influences it has had. I saw at least five contemporary works in it.

      • Lala

        Rebecca is similar to Jane Eyre, with a BIG plot twist too. I literally screamed when I read that one also.

    • BLM

      I love Jane Eyre! Now that is a strong heroine you can love! For me, Wurthering Heights was just ok and the Twilight series was almost painful (but I had to see how it ended!).

  • M.

    I’ve heard people compare Twilight to Wuthering Heights and it has made me want to throw up. I didn’t like Wuthering Heights when I did a book report on it when I was 12 (I picked the first book I saw). However, I finally read it again when I was 17 and loved it. Heathcliff is a great character, and his and Catherine’s love story is great. As a 19 year old who has read all of the Twilight books and hated them, I have to say your daughter made the right choice.

    • Georgina

      Why did you read ALL the Twilight books if you hated them. Wouldn’t you have stopped after the first one?

      • Jenny

        I read all four of them for different reasons, even though I don’t particularly care for them.
        I read Twilight to see what all the fuss was about, and came away thinking, “What’s the big deal?”
        I read New Moon to see if it got better and it didn’t (Bella as a character is insufferable).
        I read Eclipse because my friend assured me that “the books were getting better,” and I admit that Eclipse is my favorite of the four, although I use the term loosely.
        Finally, I read Breaking Dawn to see if it was as bad as I’d been hearing, and ohhh it was all that and more (less?).
        I think it’s hilarious that Twilight fans want to have it both ways. If you say you don’t like it and haven’t read it, they fire back that “you can’t hate something you haven’t read!” But if you DID read the books to form an informed opinion or for whatever reason, and DARE to say they’re bad, they hit you with, “Why’d you read them if you don’t like them?”
        You can’t win! :-D

  • Jackie

    Read Jane Eyre when I was 11 and Wuthering Heights is probably my favourite book. I wish my kids would give them a try. They are both very well read but neither one of them will give the Brontes the time of day :(

    • castiella

      This comment left me with the amusing mental image of the ghosts of the Bronte sisters following a couple of young teenagers around, asking for the time, only to be tragically ignored. So, thanks! :-)

  • castiella

    I’m not at all a fan of Meyer’s writing, but Llama’s right: the influence of WH on her characters and themes is pretty strong! I’m glad she’s reading “the greats” now. May I suggest you point her toward Jane Eyre next? Similar themes and style to WH, but with a much cooler (intelligent, independent, blessedly sane) heroine.

    • castiella

      Okay, I love that two people had this idea before me and I didn’t bother to notice. Fail!Me. :-)

    • kate

      Hate Jane Eyre. She’s so boring. Katherine maybe seriously messed up but she is truly fascinating to me in a way that Jane never was. Wurthering Heights captured my imagination where Jane Eyre just left me bored.

      • castiella

        I can definitely see your point! I think Catherine annoys me for the same reasons she amuses you, and Jane amuses me for the same reasons she annoys you. Catherine was a bit too melodramatic for me, whereas Jane stayed strong and stayed calm in the midst of all of the chaos swirling around her. (Plus I think I identify with her self-contained, book-nerdy academic thing.) Ah, well, to each her own! :-)

      • Zoey

        That’s funny, because I like both of them! Well, in a way. I love WH more though. Heathcliff and Catherine are truly messed up people, but that makes me love the book more, oddly. But then again, I’m a little messed in the head too.

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