Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Victor Hugo and the Book of Torture: Part I

Victor Hugo wrote this book for the sole purpose of driving me insane. It has been my goal for some time now, like since 9th grade, to read "the classics". I have a long list of novels, biographies, historical accounts etc. that I would like to read before taking the 6 foot dive into the grave. Now, in the course of this vast endeavor, I have strayed and have read books not on said list, and have greatly enjoyed my moments of weakness. Most recently being "The Prince of Tides". Of course, to some, that is a classic, and it has been added to my "must read" list and I am no referring everyone to it. However, as much as I have so far revelled in this great adventure, I am now just as Miserable as one can be.

Really, who takes TWO WHOLE PAGES to describe a juxtaposition of the beauty of two small infants and a cart. A CART, ladies and gentlemen. Oh, he had me fooled. I was enamoured with the Bishop, I absolutely adore him. I felt for Jean Valjean, my heart ached for his bitter contempt with his "raw deal" handed to him in life. But now, as I am to be falling in love with the young Fantine as she ABANDONS her child with random people, I am finding myself sneaking over to my book shelf of past pleasure and questioning whether or not my goal will fail due to the TWO PAGES from juxtaposition hell. Alright, now I'm exagerating. But really. A friend advised the words of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up." I retorted, "Winston Churchill never read Les Miserables. Otherwise it would be: "Never, never, never read Hugo."

Never the less, I'm pressing forward. Onward and upward, page by page. I hope that by next week I'll have a new post "Victor Hugo and the Book of Torture: Part II" filled with words of apology to Monsieur Hugo. Oh I hope, I hope, I hope.


Wendy said...

Once I finished the unabridged version I gave myself a Get Out Of Endless Descriptive Passages Free card: if ever I want to revisit Javert, Valjean, and their buddies, I allow myself to read the abridged version.

I really like Hugo on the whole though, so I applaud you for staying the course. I think he's worth it, but then again, I am insane.

Tanya D said...

i love les miserable, but i advise you to read as quickly as possible over Waterloo, snore...but you will love this book. i loved it even more when i saw it on broadway, and all the songs are so beautiful. "can you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men..."

Melanie said...

I know you're all stuck in classics mode and everything. But you realized that the abridged version is still a classic? Just abridged. I have read both. The only way I got through the unabridged version is by first reading the abridged version. Please put the book down and pick up the much shorter and more pleasurable read of 'Les Miserable - the abridged'. I would like you to not HATE this book. And frankly 1000 pages of war talk can do that to a person.

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