Les Misérables by Victor Hugo is probably the few books that have so many adaptations. Personally, I think it is the best books ever to be written. Why? Just because.
Because. It has amazing set of characters. I think they are all very human, none of them are perfect. We always fall for the “good bad Robin Hood like guys” and Les Mis has Jean Valjean. Ex-convict who has just been released after 19 years of imprisonment in the galleys, five years for stealing bread for his starving sister and her children and fourteen more for trying to escape. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? After his release, he can’t get a place to stay because of his yellow passport that marks him as criminal. I like how Valjean constantly pulls out Houdini like tricks in the book.
Then there’s Javert. The bad cop. Who’s just really doing his job. Fantine (now I have Anne Hathaway picture of her in my head), Parisian grisette, who falls in love, finds out that she is pregnant, is left alone to take care of her illegitimate child and who eventually becomes prostitute. Cosette. Fantine’s daughter, the Cinderella story of Les Misérables, the Lark who becomes the princess like creature. And dear Eponiné. The girl in the shadows of Cosette. I really liked her. She fell for guy who already was in love with another girl but still sacrificed all. It is full of people and happenings. Full set of miserable characters who are, in so many ways like all of us.
“Promise to give me a kiss on my brow when I am dead. I shall feel it.”
She dropped her head again on Marius’ knees, and her eyelids closed. He thought the poor soul had departed. Éponine remained motionless. All at once, at the very moment when Marius fancied her asleep forever, she slowly opened her eyes in which appeared the sombre profundity of death, and said to him in a tone whose sweetness seemed already to proceed from another world:
“And by the way, Monsieur Marius, I believe that I was a little bit in love with you.”
It has most beautiful plot and language. I also liked how emotional the book it was, this one made me laugh and cry. Or both at same time. Truly beautiful.
I love the themes in the book. There’s lot of love and compassion in the book and I think there’s a lot on what does it mean to be human. I like how Hugo had lots of criticism towards French society, social injustice and politics during the 19th century. For example, Valjean stole piece of bread and attempted to escape from galleys few times…and that made him Most Wanted man in France? There was Patron-Minette…and nobody was after them?
Les Misérables has my heart so definitely 10/10.
Your Guide On How-To Read Les Misérables
1. You can read it for free! Yay! For example on Project Gutenberg. Find the one with as many pages as possible. Also, if you have seen the movies and theater adaptations…definitely read the book! It has SO much more! And the other way around ;)
2. Warning: it is huge but has lot to give.
3. Victor Hugo loves you as reader. He talks to you all the time, imagine this and imagine that. It’s really nice. Kind of like someone would read it to you. Once, he does even apologize if something is not accurate.
4. Hugo has put a lot of effort in describing things. Very wordy book. He describes Paris, Battle of Waterloo (many many pages in the beginning of the book), sewers of the Paris and slang among other. He seems to have a lot to say about everything.
5. If you want to have inspiration to read about France’s history, you can as well start from Les Misérables.
6. You should have a soundtrack of the Les Misérables prepared on your iPod :p
“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Buy Les Miserables (Signet Classics) on Amazon