Wednesday, July 22, 2009

in which I blame Marius for Jean Valjean's death

I have just finished Les Miserables, so I am crying now.

I wondered at the outset of this project of reading the unabridged version whether I would feel like it was unnecessary. It's so long, and there is so much that doesn't concern Jean Valjean, surely much of it is dead wood, right? But I've found that aside from M. Gillenormand's randy transports of fancy, it's all necessary. It's not only the story of Jean Valjean, after all. As Hugo says, the book is the march from evil to good, from injustice to justice; for that to be accomplished, the other stories have to be told, however ancillary they may appear.

It's a difficult book to digest, but short story is: the justice system is messed up, liberty is a right of all men, sewers are gross, Marius is a douchebag, Jean Valjean is a saint, and I sort of have a celebrity-old-man-who-doesn't-actually-exist crush on him. It could work, you guys, he's totally nice. And strong!

I'm still seething about Marius. I almost wish he were real, so I could shiv him in the kidneys. Or remind him every day that he pettily took the one ray of light from the life of a man who is infinitely his superior, and that his coldness drove Jean Valjean to his death. Then I'd give him a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in it. While kicking him in the crotch.

In the future, I think it would be helpful to read the whole book in one go, instead of in small spaces of time while I'm in the bathroom or getting ready to fall asleep.


tipsybaker said...

Maybe I missed the explanation earlier, but why this particular book?

Layne said...

I just thought it was time for me to be a grownup.

richvm said...

Sometimes I am so glad you are reserved and hold back on letting us know how you really feel. Thanks for continuing to let John come and the support. Hope your feeling much better. Oink

All8 said...

I've just about given up on reading anything of depth until, well, who knows when at this point. I love unabridged books and make it a point to buy them when the occasion arises.

Although 'Little heathens : hard times and high spirits on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression', by Mildred Armstrong Kalish just came in at the library for me to pick up; and I'm pretty sure that it won't be all laughs.

Jill said...

You should SO be a book critic...please tell me that you will post this oppion on Goodreads. hee hee

PS My sister has a old man crush on JV too.