Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

I probably should have read Les Miserables sooner in my life, but now I can say that I've read this 1,463 page behemoth, although, actually, I listened to the audio version that was narrated by Frederick Davidson who is an absolutely wonderful narrator. He speaks French perfectly and has a wonderful accent. He was also very good at making the voices sound different from each other without making them grating. 

His voice also got me through the parts of the books where Hugo describes in detail the French sewer system; gives all the back story of every single character in the novel, even the bit players; describes at length the French justice system; gives 500 and eleventy-billion ways a man loves a woman, and every other place he spews words on the page like the flood of Noah's time. 

That being said, I loved this book. Yes, it is wordy; yes, Hugo needed an editor, badly. If you are a history buff, you will love every word of it, but I just wanted him to get back to Jean Valjean - back to the action of the story. Hugo paints complex characters. I wanted to reach in a smack M. Thenardier and rescue Fantine. I loved Javert's honesty and integrity. I loved seeing Jean ValJean grow and how M. Myriel, the bishop buys Jean ValJean's soul. 

I would read this book again. There is so much in this book. Hugo was ahead of his time. He shows the dangers of a society that is so caught up in appearances, social structure, wealth, and the letter of the law above the spirit of the law. He shows what happens to women when they don't have a support system. There were many bit players in the novel that were well written that I loved them as well. I like the moral message of this book that we all must help and lift one another because that is the most important thing of all. 

Link to our NICU book registry if you'd like to donate books to babies in the newborn intensive care unit so their parents can read to them while they grow. You can also donate gently used books to our project by sending them to me or to Angie. Email me for a mailing address. We can use both English and Spanish books. If you have a graduate of the NICU, or if you have a baby whose life you would like to honor by donating books to this project, let me know, and I can make a book plate with their name for the books you donate.

Another way to help our project is to purchase books from this Usborne link as we are currently using the hostess benefits to help buy books for the babies. You buy books that are delivered to your house for your children or grandchildren - or as baby shower gifts, and the hostess rewards help us get books for our NICU babies - a win win for all. 

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

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