I read Rebecca when I was a teen, but haven’t read it since so I added it to my book club’s list of possibilities thinking that it would be a wonderful way to slip a classic into our selections. The August host chose it because she hadn’t read it before and really likes Gothic novels, but I don’t think it went over as well as I thought it would.
What struck me this time around, and did the other book club members as well, was the absolute passivity of the narrator. I think her submissive and timid personality really bothered them, although most of us were able to see how she developed into such a doormat. It was also hard for many of us to believe that the narrator would continue to live with Maxim after the truth about him is revealed. But what other choice does she have, really?
I think this novel is probably the least successful choice my book club has read so far. It did not inspire a good discussion and left most of us feeling flat and ready to move on to the next book.
Though Rebecca is not one of my favorite classics, I think it is incredibly suspenseful and darkly atmospheric, qualities that I enjoy but that might not make for the best discussion.
Next up for my book club in September is The Submission by Amy Waldman.
How do you feel about Rebecca?