David's Reviews > Les Misérables

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Sep 26, 07

What fascinating stories! Poor Fantine suffered greatly because of the poor choices she had made in life. She brought misery upon herself, but she has our pity. Jean Valjean was not an innocent man in the wrong place at the wrong time, like I assumed before reading the book. On the contrary, he was a depraved imbecile. He was the scum of the Earth, yet he found redemption. Fantine is the warning, Valjean is the hope. In giving all that he had and everything that he was for the benefit of someone even less fortunate than himself, he attained greatness.

Victor Hugo infuses the stories with politics, religion, and ethics. Marius is furious when his father suggests that he should make Cosette his lover instead of his wife. Regarding the sanctity of marriage, on their wedding night, Hugo simply remarks that the house became a temple.
I have been to Victor Hugo’s house many times. I am always impressed with his desk. It is simple and tall, at an angle. It was an ideal height for him to use standing, as some problem with his hip made it uncomfortable for him to sit. I find it remarkable that he wrote all of his very long books standing up.

I have also been to Les égoux (the sewers) of Paris. Victor Hugo happened to be friends with the only man in the world at the time who had charted the intricate sewer systems of Paris. They really are amazing. In my opinion, stone buildings did not make Paris great, waste-management did.
21 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Les Misérables.
sign in »

Comments (showing 1-4)

dateUp_arrow    newest »

Nikki No, YOU'RE fascinating! Thanks again for another wonderful review. You have so many interesting insights, facts, and assertions, all of which I find pleasantly thought and smile-provoking.

message 3: by Erie (new) - added it

Erie Morgan that is very true about what you said about fantine

Lisa The scum of the earth? He stole some bread to keep his sister and her children from starving. He repeatedly tried to escape the hell that was his unjust punishment for trying to stay alive. He stole from the bishop after 19 years in prison being treated like an animal. That's a depraved imbecile?

Donna This review seems judgmental and harsh to me. If David feels Fantine made poor choices and brought on her own misery, he demonstrates the same societal heartlessness Hugo raged against in the novel. Valjean may have become a "depraved imbecile" after his release from prison, but he also taught himself to read while imprisoned. After one night with Bishop Myriel, he decided to rise above his circumstances and become a better man. In only a few short years, he was mayor and primary employer of a town. Now bad for a depraved imbecile. I realize I am commenting on a review almost seven years old, but I was stunned by David's lack of compassion after reading about reading the ultimate literary example of it.

back to top