Thursday, May 5, 2022

Book Review: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


**This review has minimal spoilers. No specifics. Welcome to readers coming from the Classics Club

Where in the world do I even start?  

I began reading Les Mis along with many other people from several different countries on Instagram through #ourdayswithlesmis hosted by @neyoandclassics. We started on March 1st and I finished on May 3rd. 

I have not read the book previously; however, I did see the 2012 version of the movie/musical and recently watched the BBC mini-series.  I recommend both - but NEVER in place of the actual book! 

I was surprised that Hugo's writing (albeit translated) was so approachable. I was involved from the very first page. 

The book made me laugh, literally cry out "NO!", made my heart ache, and brought me to tears.  Only the BEST of the BEST books do that for me. 

I can't begin to explain how I looked forward to picking up this tome each evening while reclining onto my collection of pillows and bringing out my annotation pouch and affixing my glasses upon the bridge of my nose. Honestly, during my work day I would think about this time coming up and get a little thrill from it.  (You know you are a book nerd when.........hahahaha) 

My favorite character, who is probably most readers' favorite character, has to be Jean ValJean. His transformation from an everyday man to a convicted felon - how he held that moniker no matter how much good he did, no matter how much love he felt, no matter who he really was inside.  How at the perfect time in his life he met up with a saint of a man who did something that literally changed his life. Who proved to him that GOOD EXISTS.  How no matter the amount of location and name changes he went through, he still gave generously to the poor, even to the detriment of his true identity being found out. How he used his physical strength and his strength of character.  I LOVE HIM.  

And little Gavroche .... how do you not just love him?  There's no way not to! 

I also loved how Hugo made most every character imperfect, and in those imperfections, made them more relatable. Fantine's struggles to be a good mother in the only way she could see how, ValJean's running from the law when he was truly good at heart, Javert's inner struggle to decide to do what was right by the law or to do right morally.  Marius's struggle between his love for his grandfather and trying to honor the memory of his father. Cosette's devotion to her Papa and wanting to live in his hidden world while still looking for ways to be a part of the world as well. 

  The history and descriptive passages (oh who am I kidding?  The historic and descriptive CHAPTERS) were a bit much.  I won't lie, I sped read through most of that.  Sorry Victor. I was so in love with the story itself I needed to know what happened.  It did give me a lot of introspective views on what WAS a good book in 1862 versus 2022. Also the difference in books written in other countries and cultures.  We Americans are not good at reading through 100 pages of descriptive text that aids the setting of the main storyline - and I'm ashamed that I didn't give it its due - because his writing ...... oh his writing is beautiful and even though the 19th century sewage system of France is not something I ever wanted to learn about - he took the time to write it and felt it was important enough to add it to his book, so I should have read it just as carefully as the rest! 

But I digress....

 I apologize that I don't do typical book reviews.  When I do them, it's more about what the book made me feel than the book itself.  But if/when I look back at this 10 years from now, I'll want to pick up this book and love it all over again. 

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 5/5 Stars 

Happy Homemaker Thursday & A Book Update


I am linking up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday! 

♥♥ The Weather ♥♥  

Today is partly cloudy and 61.  Nice enough in my opinion!  We have a week ahead of upper 60's - 70's and sun.  I am looking forward to it! 

♥♥ As I look outside my window ♥♥
I just set up my new suet feeder (looks like a little house with a brass roof) and swept the balcony.  Getting ready to get some plants out there next week.  There is a group of kids cleaning up the park across the street as well. 

♥♥ Thinking and pondering ♥♥ 

♥♥ How I am feeling ♥♥ 
I am feeling beyond fatigued.  I went to the doctor on Tuesday. My labs are all pretty good.  My thyroid is a hair within the normal range - so she will most likely increase my thyroid meds.  She's ordered a sleep study too.  I can't help but think it's something else though. I've had sleep apnea for over 20 years and I have never felt like this before.  Menopause isn't helping!  :/  

♥♥ On my reading pile: What I finished ♥

I just finished reading and annotating Les Miserables.  It is now positioned at #2 of my all-time favorites, behind Gone with the Wind, which will never lose the #1 spot. 5/5  (*Real book) 

I finished "The Paris Apartment" by Lucy Foley.  This was my first time reading her work.  It was very twisty and kinda dark.  I did like it and gave it 4*. (*E-book from the library)

I also finished two Colleen Hoover books.  They might not be for everyone, but they give you all the *feels*.  She's a good writer, but some of her books cover very tough topics.  She's a good character writer as well, which really draws me into her books. (*borrowed e-books from library) 

♥♥ On my reading pile: Reading now ♥

*I just started reading and annotating "Anna Karenina"  I've already seen the Vivian Lee version last month and I LOVED IT SO MUCH.  I'm a few chapters in and the writing is
superbly beautiful! (*Real book) 

*About 20% finished with Colleen Hoover's Confess 

*Also just starting today The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James 

♥♥ On my TV ♥♥
*Outlander - watching with my sweetheart!  He's really enjoying it too. 
*American Song Contest 
*Days of our Lives
*Chicago PD
*BBC version of Les Mis - very good! 

*Les Mis 2012 - I liked it much, much more now that I've read the book! 
*War of the Worlds - Tom Cruise - I liked it better than I thought I would! 

♥♥ On the menu ♥♥
Sunday - White chicken chili 
Monday -  Leftovers 
Tuesday -  Homemade vegetable soup with cheese tortellini
Wednesday - Jeff picked up Chinese food 

Friday -  Chicken nuggets and fries?  LOL  Not sure yet! 
Saturday -  Lemon garlic angel hair pasta with shrimp and broccoli
MOTHER'S DAY: Cooking out bbq chicken, corn on the cob, green beans, mini red potatoes and green salad - Jeff is making homemade bread (or rolls) 

♥♥ To do list ♥♥
*Spring cleaning
   - Murphy's Oil Soap on all the beautiful wood in this house
   - Cleaning windows 
   - Prettying up the balcony 
   - Organizing my food storage containers, need to get rid of the plethora of containers with lids and lids without containers! 

Sunday we are going to meet with Jeff's family to celebrate his mom.  She's a great lady!  I hope to call her mother-in-law someday in the future! After we are going to go to my dad's to cookout and probably play some Uno! 
♥♥  Planning/Writing/Journaling/Creating ♥♥
 It's been slow going with how fatigued I've been lately! 
♥♥ Looking around the house ♥♥
Needs the spring cleaning!  Organizing - switching things up a bit 
♥♥ From the camera ♥♥

♥♥  Prayer List ♥♥
My Dad as always.  His congestive heart failure and kidney failure is under control at the moment but now he's having trouble keeping his blood pressure up.  Getting lightheaded and dizzy, had a couple of minor falls. 

So much going on around the world - prayers for my local people going through hard times, difficulties across the country - prayers that certain changes are made in government - watching and praying with the people of Ukraine.  Just. SO. Much. 
♥♥ Today's Devotional/Bible Verse ♥♥