6 hours ago
BOOK REVIEW: Book 9 of 2019 – Les Miserables
It’s weird reviewing classics because it feels like there can’t be much that I can add to what’s already been said. But, here is my take on Les Miserables: it is, first and foremost, a love story. Yes, of course there are multiple themes throughout and it’s essentially a book that highlights the plight of the poor, but the overall message is that of the importance of love. The love of parents towards their children, romantic love, unrequited love, love for one’s country, love as a means of being close to God, love for one’s parents, love for one’s comrades, love for those who provide us with support and trust…I felt like the book really illustrated how those with love can survive incredible hardship, and those without may sink towards the depths of despair or immorality. And honestly? I adored every minute of it. I really appreciated such a direct and strong depiction of love, particularly Marius’ and Valjean’s love towards Cosette. Marius’ love letter nearly broke me.
My one complaint is that Cosette is not as well developed as a character as the men in the novel. I would’ve liked to have known more about Cosette’s inner world given the turbulent experiences she’s been through, and her feelings towards the many characters intertwined with her life.
The best bit about this book is undoubtedly Hugo’s writing style. It’s simply beautiful, and though of course it digresses, I felt happy to wander along with Hugo’s descriptions – even when he was just describing a building. It’s the literary equivalent of being happy to hear someone with a nice voice reading the phone book. Would I read this again, given all the other books I could fit in instead? Yes, I actually would. And next time, I’m going to read it in French!
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