I finished! I finished! Did you? If not, feel free to join in anyway. I think that there is so much in the first half of the book, and so I would love to hear your incomplete thoughts if you want to share them.
I am glad that I had the accountability of this bookclub to finish, because while I was captivated by the first third of the book, I might have given up when it began to flag (the political/war storylines made me glaze over every time). I was most interested in the Javert versus Jean Valjean storyline. I would be reading along, caught up in the human drama of the latest storyline, and when I had almost forgotten about him, Javert would appear from the shadows. Lisa, Dawn and I plan to record a podcast this afternoon focusing specifically on this relationship, so stay tuned. Are you looking forward to “meeting” (voice wise) two other contributors?
I loved how the other characters personified so much more — Thernadier as pure evil. Cosette as pure good, Fantine perhaps as naive determination (she never gave up, and didn’t let her circumstances defeat her). Marius perhaps represents change?
I think that this is an allegory — with so many characters representing greater themes — and that theme of redemption or defeat so strong throughout, but I also think that it reads like a simple human drama as well as we get caught up in the stories of Marius and Cosette, and Marius and Eponine, and the quiet torment of Jean Valjean (or whatever he happens to be calling himself in each section).
As far as “the experience” (question 5 in the preview), I read the Pocket Books Enriched Classics. It was “only” 595 pages long. This is the second time I’ve read it. The first was at least twelve years ago. I was going to be joining Terry on a business trip to NYC and we were going to see Les Miserables on Broadway. So I decided to read the book. I do remember loving it, and I also remember racing to finish it before we saw the show. My next experience was a few years after that. We had done a study of Romans in a Moms Bible study I was in, and at the end of the study, we did a weekend retreat looking at the notion of grace versus the law, as we studied in Romans. They used the movie version of Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson and Claire Danes to illustrate these themes (which I will be featuring Thursday in Books on Screen). It brought a whole new dimension to this beloved story.
I love this story. I don’t know if I’ll read it again, but I know I’ll watch the movie again and again (I own it), as well as listening to the musical score from the musical, as a way to keep this story and these themes in the forefront of my mind.
Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan also blogs at Snapshot about life with her tween daughter and preschool son.
Now it’s your turn. If you’d like to use some questions as a guide, you can find them here in the preview post. Use them as a springboard to your thoughts, or just write up your own review. Either way, add the direct link to your post in the linky below, and take some time to visit others as well.