Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OMG! Heathcliff's on Facebook! LOL!

A co-worker had this new HarperTeen print of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights on her desk. It's packaged as Bella and Edward's favorite book (though if I'm remember correctly, it was only Bella's favorite book) and the cover resembles the Twilight cover with the red and black, though in this case it's a rose instead of an apple. Even the tagline "Love never dies" suggests vampires.

This isn't Wuthering Heights and Vampires. It's the original novel, but it does feature extras in the back. These include: "Quiz: Are You Destined for Tumultuous Love," "Like Catherine and Heathcliff," "Ingredients for a Gothic Romance," "10 Things You Didn't Know About Emily Bronte," and "What If Catherine and Heathcliff Lived Now and Were on Facebook?"

The quiz is pretty amusing, but I don't think Catherine and Heathcliff would have Facebook profiles even if they were around today. Catherine might, but Heathcliff definitely would not. Also, the profiles are really disappointing. There is room for a lot of creativity here, especially if status updates and wall postings were included, but these weren't designed to look like actual Facebook profiles and just contain biographical information from the books without accurately reflecting the personality of the characters. For example, in the "about me" section for Heathcliff, it says, "Tattoos--Don't you wish you knew." Heathcliff doesn't talk in that coy manner.

It saddens me that publishers think teenagers will not read anything unless it has a modern twist or relates to Twilight. I read Wuthering Heights in high school and it remains one of my favorite books. Then again, I wasn't exactly representative of most teens. And I have to admit, this is smart packaging. It stands to reason that the romantic teenagers that love Twilight will also be drawn to Wuthering Heights. Maybe they'll even start wearing "Team Heathcliff" and "Team Edgar" shirts. My hope is that this will encourage teens to read more classics. The back of the book advertises similar packaging for Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet.


Kat said...

Ugh, it's so frustrating when adults underestimate kids and teenagers--especially girls in their early teens. It's understandable with the success of things like High School Musical, Wicked, and of course Twilight that people want to lump all girls of that age together, but not everyone in a demographic is the same! And it's definitely possible to love Wicked AND classic literature. Those publishers could have easily made the connections between Wuthering Heights and Twilight with a less insulting approach.

Linda said...

I hear you. I think a lot of teenage girls read Wuthering Heights on their own or for school, so I don't know if this type of marketing is really necessary.