Book Reviews Comics

Three Sisters of Haworth : Girl Annual 5

The front cover of GIRL ANNUAL number 5

This is GIRL. It was launched in 1951 as a sister title to EAGLE, and I have a lot of love for it. Comics of this period are endlessly fascinating in how they look outward; the world was there for the taking, and this was a generation that both would – and could – take full advantage of it.

Launched by Marcus Morris who, incidentally, turns out to have been responsible for launching the British version of COSMO (!), GIRL told the stories of girls and women who did great things. It was a mixture of comic, short-story, factual and ‘how to’ pieces, and was regularly collected in numbered editions. Number five, for example, includes such delightful things as ‘how to make a Tyrolean belt’, ‘Christmas in the Land of Pinatas and Posatas’ and my little heart exploding of joy.

As great at these are (and they are, trust me), it was Three Sisters of Haworth that caught my eye. The story is by Pamela Green and Kenneth Gravtt, and drawn by Eric Dadswell. I’m guessing you already know who the three sisters of Haworth are, but the subtitle will give it away if you don’t: The True Story of the Brontës  Who Wrote Some of Our Finest Literature. Note that our there. It’s often in the small detail that good work shows itself: these stories are collective. I’m part of it. You’re part of it.

Three Sisters of Haworth is a fairly standard recollection of the Brontës lives. It steps up, however, in the following panels:

A panel from THREE SISTERS OF HAWORTH where the sisters ask Emily Bronte what she shall call her new book.
A panel from THREE SISTER OF HAWORTH with the speech "I shall call it 'Wuthering Heights'"

How absolutely amazing is that? It’s so brilliant. It captures the spirit of Wuthering Heights (a book which I reviewed here) and also tells your young readers to fight for their dreams. I would frame it if I could. I probably will. It’s outstanding work.

If you’re interested, you can see a few more panels from the comic here, and if this sort of thing floats your boat, the annuals themselves are regularly available on the second hand market (and not for that much either!).

Book Reviews

Wuthering Heights : Emily Brontë

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It’s odd, sometimes, how a book holds a consciousness in your brain before you have ever read a single page of it. Wuthering Heights is embedded somewhere in there, somewhere near Kate Bush and somewhere near the moorland that turns to grey and steel on an Autumn morning.

A while back I read my first ever Jane Austen. I have now read my first ever Brontë. These aren’t books that sit comfortably within my world; I am somebody who reads a lot, but I, as everyone does, have my grooves. So I went to Emily and to Wuthering Heights, prompted somewhat by To Walk Invisible in the hope to finally read a Brontë and to step out of those grooves once more. It’s good to do that every now and then.


How long can I put off telling you what I thought about this book?

Everyone is horrible. Everyone is horrible and Northern with a capital By ‘Eck (I am Northern and stuggled substantially with the dialect of the novel), and everyone just gets horribler (forgive me, but it’s the only way I can express it) throughout the novel. It’s not an easy read. It also somewhat baffles me as to how I had grouped Heathcliff in ‘Fictional Attractive Gentlemen Whom Everyone Has A Crush On’ because he too is hideous. And the dog thing! I admit that I got to a point with Wuthering Heights where I grabbed the nearest person to me and said, “Do you know what’s gone on now?” and told them and then we discussed how on earth that sort of thing goes on and then the weather and the buses, for we are British and that is what we do.

I shall take a deep breath now, and restore a semblance of normality to this novel. Emily Brontë can write, undoubtedly. She burns with this sort of wild anger and love, so often the same thing here, and her description of landscape is superb. Ineffably so. These are lived in moors and known spaces; and I think it is in those moments that the novel worked for me. I write about the representation of landscape in my thesis and so it is a topic close to my heart. The setting of a scene can tell you everything before anyone has even opened their mouths.

But Heathcliff is not a hottie. Everyone else is moronic. Everything else is angry.

This isn’t a book about love, not really.

It’s a book about selfishness. It’s a book about locking the door and locking the world far away, and for me, as a reader located within that world, I felt invasive. Wuthering Heights screams to be read and fights, furiously, to hold its story to itself. Perhaps that’s it, right there. Perhaps that’s it.

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