Friday, March 22, 2013

I Finally Finished the Book!!

I finished it! I finished reading Les Miserables last night. Whew. That is a long book. I feel  a little silly to feel such a huge sense of accomplishment. All I did was read a book. But what a book! (Funny typo....I almost had 'Hugh' for huge. Ha ha! Get it, Hugh Jackman?) The first time I tried to read it, years ago, I didn’t make it very far, and I’d always meant to try again, so after seeing the new movie, I bought a translated copy for my Nook. Not the easiest thing I’ve ever read, either, but I’m glad I did. I can’t say I understood every page, as he goes into great detail about things I couldn’t follow since I didn’t know the French history or all the philosophers he mentioned, and the translator chose to leave several poems and songs untranslated including the last lines of what was written in pencil on the tomb stone and I don’t know French, and, frankly, some of the longer digressions were a little bit hard to wade through, but in the end the story is worth it.

Though it goes against my usual opinion, I have to say that this is probably the only time I’ve found where I think I like the movie better. It’s a good thing I saw the movie and loved it, so I would recognize that the difficult passages are very much worth wading through. I’m impressed with how well the musical sticks to the story for the most part. I found myself humming songs from it as I read. There are some changes, of course, I mean it’s a 4015 page book after all, but it is remarkably faithful to the main story. For most of the book I liked the movie version of Marius much better than the book version, though I ended up liking him better near the end. And I loved Little Gavroche in the book. You learn much more about him than in the movie, and I cried when he died. Lots of crying in this book. Hence the title.

I cried when Marius and Cosette married, because the description of Jean Valjean’s emotional turmoil is heart wrenching. And I cried at the end. Side note: I might have snapped a bit at my husband who, when noticing my sobs at the end proceeded to take that precise moment. while I was enjoying all the pathos and still reading, to tease me with, "Cheer up, you knew how it ended, right?"  Seriously, don't spoil the moment when someone is in that other place while reading a good book!! I enjoy the catharsis. Sorry, Drew.....

Speaking of that, I saw this on one of those e-card things on Facebook today: "That moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives as though you didn't just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback."  Exactly! 

I’m not sad to be finished, as it took me just shy of 3 months to finish the thing, but I’m glad I read it, and I’m glad I read it unabridged. Those more boring passages are important, too. Even the 53 pages discussing the sewers of Paris. Wowza. Made the mistake of starting that section while I was eating lunch one day. Urp. 

But what a story. One thing I found interesting was how both Javert and Marius did not seem to have a capacity to understand or allow for true repentance. Once a convict, always a convict. But while the true nature of Jean Valjean’s repentance proved to be Javert’s undoing in that he just could not come to terms with it, it proved to be Marius’ undoing in that he finally saw it for what it was, and what a shame to have that understanding come so late. I love this story. I won’t go into English paper mode and try to break it all down for all its symbolic glory, but I really did enjoy this book. 

Is it geeky that I’m so excited that today is the release date for the DVD that I had to go out this morning and buy this?

Guess what we’re watching tonight!

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