This is one of those books where, right after you finish reading it (or even immediately after you start reading it, and throughout the entire book), you wonder why the hell you didn’t read it sooner. It was simply amazing and is now absolutely one of my favorite books of all time. The characters haunted me the whole time I was reading it as well as every waking moment that I wasn’t. I couldn’t stop wondering what was going to happen next and I couldn’t wait to get back to it. At first it reminded me a lot of [book: Jane Eyre] (what with the dead first wife’s legacy haunting the young second wife and some other similarities), but Rebecca was totally different. The entire novel is full of suspense and each twist and turn caught me off guard. This is definitely a book that you want to keep in your personal library to re-visit in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing how it reads now that I know what will happen so that I can study the characters more closely and see how sneaky du Maurier was with her build-up.
Du Maurier’s understanding of human nature and her ability to write out characters’ streams of consciousness were extremely impressive to me. When the unnamed narrator was thinking through various possible situations (like what other people might be thinking of her and what they might do and say if she did not go to the costume party) I kept thinking “holy crap, I do this all the time,” and this author has penned it perfectly. The fear and anxiety, the social gaucheries and clumsy attempts at conversation, the continual tripping over one’s feet and tongue – du Maurier describes all this flawlessly and I found a sort of kindred spirit in her heroine. I enjoyed watching the narrator grow and mature over the course of the book, and it gave me a bit of hope that one day I’ll be rid of my shyness and awkwardness too. And she’s not the only interesting character – du Maurier gives a whole cast of fully developed players to make the story seem even more real and frightening. It was just a beautiful, remarkable book – I highly recommend it.
I’m going to have to check out the 1940 film version now since apparently that’s a classic I’ve been missing out on as well. When I was looking that up I also learned that Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds is based on a short story by Rebecca du Maurier. I had no idea! Now I’ll have to try that short story too.