When I was thirteen I read Daphne Du Maurier’s 1938 novel Rebecca. Although I didn’t remember the plot, I recalled my immersion in the reading and my understanding that I could now read “adult” novels.( Before I was thirteen I had to have a note from my mother to allow me entrance to the adult section of the library. Needless to say that encouraged my leap to more difficult reading.)
I suggested to my covid bound thirteen year old granddaughter, an avid reader, that she try Rebecca for herself. For the last three days she has reported the experience she is having reading it. We sit six feet apart and she regales me with the excitement, the reading challenge, and the plot of the book. I am genuinely curious about the plot since I don’t remember it, and any young reader loves to recount the story line to a receptive ear. I expect that at our evening’s get together tonight she will have finished the novel and I can find out what happened at Manderley after years of only remembering the famous opening line, Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
I asked her if the book was challenging to read. She told me that she can understand the words but that the plot is complicated and sometimes difficult to follow. Most delightfully for me, a retired English professor, she said “they used more verbs then.” What a wonderful commentary on the rich language in ordinary popular fiction. I am glad she rose to the reading challenge and has been swept away as I was sixty years ago by good writing.