Rave: Les Miserable

10 Nov

Secret-sharing time: I’m a nerd. Even better, I’m a musical theatre nerd, and a book nerd, and a French nerd.

So, obviously, I’ve read Les Miz. and watched it. And bought the entire album off iTunes.

But I can usually downplay it because it’s not something you mention in random conversation. Like ‘hey, omg, did you read that book that came out centuries ago?’ Not really breaking news.

But now there’s a live musical showing in movie theaters (they recorded it in London) next week and I’m super excited.

Great musical, plain and simple.

And it’s a great book, too. But a lot of people are intimidated by it (over 1,000 pages, paperback abridged addition and it was written forever ago), for no apparent reason. Because this is, for reals, the best-written and easiest-to-understand classic book I’ve ever read. The sheer size is the only thing that can throw you off, and it’s a little bit addictive, which gets you over that.

So here’s my tribute (‘review’ is used loosely) to something that’s still popular after so long for VERY GOOD REASON.

Enjolras. Also known as the Dude in the Red Vest. Awesome character, book description is fantastic.

I can’t even attempt a summary. It’s SOO long. If you’re completely lost go to SparkNotes. They do a great job and include almost everything (but without the emotion of course).

There are a few specific things and people I love about Les Miz. The first is the redemption of Jean Valjean, and the continual mentions that he is a good guy. Twice (with the man Javert arrests, thinking it’s him, and with Marius going off to die at the barricade), Valjean has the chance to let someone else die for his gain. And both times, he doesn’t let them. The first time, he gets thrown back in prision, which he’d worked so hard to escape, and has to escape again. The second time he saves the man Cosette loves, even though he’ll take her away from him, and Cosette is all Valjean has. It’s the greatest part of Hugo’s books–the idea that people are good. I love it.

Also, I couldn’t do anything about Les Miz without commenting on Eponine. She relates to Valjean in some ways (people are good, deep down), but it’s better because of (drum roll!) unrequited love! I don’t normally like the unrequited-love-and-death pairing, but I make the exception here, because it’s so well done. And, come on: A Little Fall Of Rain. Even if you’ve seen it, look it up again on YouTube. Beautiful. Je t’aime, Eponine!

Alright, fangirl moment over. Or, at least, shoved down, under the surface, waiting to come up again…

~Kristine

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