Les Miserables is my favorite book of all time because of Victor Hugo’s divine, poetic excursions into the nature of that most fragile, most influentiLes Miserables is my favorite book of all time because of Victor Hugo’s divine, poetic excursions into the nature of that most fragile, most influential, most misunderstood of human emotions: love. Granted it takes him 1,400 pages to do this, but with something as vaguely relatable as love I believe it’s merited. With that in mind, if you’re patient enough to stick through it I promise that you’ll be rewarded with some of the most glistening orbs of heartwarming prose ever crafted.
The characters in this book are entirely engaging, unforgettable, and archetypal to the core. Jean Valjean is a selfless, burly ex-con: a sort of Herculean Jesus that is unjustifiably imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. His struggle to find freedom in a world that ignores his benevolence is what kept me reading the most. Another gem of a character is Cosette, an innocent orphan-girl as naive as they come. Their paths meet, and together they face the complications of her love for Marius; the detective Javert, who is hot on Valjean’s trail; and the battles of a post-Napoleonic era taking place at the height of Parisian romanticism. Many of the side characters were memorable as well, including Cosette’s mother, Fantine; the incorruptible Bishop, Bienvenu; and the charismatic revolutionary, Enjorlas.
Les Miserables is a mammoth statement about the condition of the French judicial system in the early 19th century. Not only is it a beautifully crafted ode to love, but one of the most dynamic novels about class, justice, revolution;, the right to freedom and equality, and any other virtue adored by an ideal Democracy. It’s a book that everyone devoted to Civil Rights and the equality of all humans should have on their shelves, especially considering that it chronicles much of the history of post-revolutionary France. This is the country that raised its mighty fist of democracy against all the oppressive monarchies that had a stranglehold on Europe, and Les Miserables is a testament to the political transformation that took place for the remainder of the century. I really can’t say enough about it; if it were up to me, if one work were to be chosen to place inside an air tank for eternal preservation, one work that best conveys the human spirit- all its vices and virtues- this would be it....more
It's true that I was forced to read this in the 8th grade, and whenever I was forced to hear the teacher reading I opted to sleep instead, but I alsoIt's true that I was forced to read this in the 8th grade, and whenever I was forced to hear the teacher reading I opted to sleep instead, but I also read it in 9th grade on a boring Sunday afternoon with nothing else to do. I got through it, but I don't feel like I gained anything significant from it, and while having similar qualities to Holden (like angst, probably the only thing that kept me reading), he didn't interest me enough to fall head over heels for him like so many other people. Maybe it was the drinking, maybe it was that he couldn't get through a paragraph without writing "goddamnit" at least once, maybe it was because he was dreadfully whiney and selfish, maybe it was because nothing exciting happened in the book, but after finishing it and realizing that he made no effort to better himself, I wanted a refund on my Sunday afternoon....more
Yeah it's pretty cool and funny at times, but more often than not it was the annoying kind of funny, the kind that tries too hard to be unique and jusYeah it's pretty cool and funny at times, but more often than not it was the annoying kind of funny, the kind that tries too hard to be unique and just ends up being completely absurd. If you want to write a sci-fi satire about the meaning of life, at least put some organization and wit into it. I used to know a guy who spoke just like the random nerd-prose in this book, and I kinda wanted to tell him to grow a pair....more
I'm not sure what the fuss is about. None of the characters interested me, and his style is so plain. Maybe there's deep insight here and there, but nI'm not sure what the fuss is about. None of the characters interested me, and his style is so plain. Maybe there's deep insight here and there, but not enough for my flamboyant atmospherics....more