My Rating of the Book: 5/5 stars
This book is, without a doubt, one of my favorites. If you haven’t read Les Miz before, then I have some things that you should take into account before you commit to reading this book:
- There is a reason why fans of the book call it “the brick”. This book is massive. If you don’t want to be reading for quite a while, then this book probably isn’t the book for you. However, don’t let the size of it discourage you! It’s a wonderful read!
- Don’t give up reading after reading a few pages. Believe me, this book gets better and better as it goes. I, myself, will admit that I almost gave up on this book after reading the first few pages. But I didn’t and I will forever be grateful that I didn’t.
- If you’re looking for a happy story then… Believe me, this book isn’t a book that’s going to leave you with a big smile on your face. It’s not a happy story and it doesn’t have a happy ending. That doesn’t mean that the ending isn’t satisfying. It is. Nor does it mean that it’s a horrible story. It’s not. But there is a reason why it’s called Les Misérables translating to “The Miserable Ones” or, depending on translation, “The Wretched Ones”.
“‘Monsieur, forget not this; the French revolution had its reasons. Its wrath will be pardoned by the future; its result is a better world. From its most terrible blows comes a caress for the human race'” (Hugo, 38).
Now I will be getting into actual thoughts about this book, but I don’t think that there will be any spoilers… unless you don’t know anything about the story.
First and foremost, this book does not deal with the French revolution. In fact, the latter half of the book is about the June Rebellion of 1832, a rebellion which took place 43 years after the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Why is the June Rebellion of 1832 generally ignored in history text books? Well… I think that the following quote from Victor Hugo explains why very well:
“There are accepted revolutions, revolutions which are called revolutions; there are refused revolutions, which are called riots” -Victor Hugo.
The June Rebellion of 1832 is generally dismissed as a “riot”, and thus not a real, legitimate revolution. You can be the judge of whether or not that’s fair.
Personally, the characters in this book along with the concept and the idea are what make this book so phenomenal. The characters are among the best that I’ve ever read about, particularly in regard to the members of Les Amis de l’ABC (The Friends of the ABC). They are written n a way that it is so easy to fall in love with all of them–even the ones that you do not encounter very often.
However, I do have issues with the way that Victor Hugo wrote about some of his characters. I wrote a detailed post about this on my Tumblr blog that mostly deals with Les Miz. If you’re interested in reading about that, I will link the post here.
At any rate, if you’re planning on reading Les Misérables, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! If you have already read Les Misérables or are even just acquainted with the story in some way, who is your favorite character? I think that mine is probably Javert. Lesgles/Bossuet/L’Aigle/Lesgle is up there too!