Sunday, March 27, 2011

I did it!

I finally finished the The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas this afternoon, all unabridged 1,462 pages.  Phew!  What an accomplishment!  I think it took me about two months, not exactly record speed.  But I am feeling good about being on track with one of my New Year's Resolutions, reading more classics.   The Count of Monte Cristo was definitely my "classics" start with a big bang.

The first 350 pages are riveting-- getting all caught up in the middle of an exceptional jail break story..

But then, there is a dramatic change starting in Chapter 31, "Italy: Sinbad the Sailor."  A whole new cast of characters appear on the scene, each with a half a dozen back stories.. and well, this reader was a bit lost.   I should have paid a bit more attention to these lines at the end of Chapter 30, "The Fifth of September":
"And now," said the unknown, "farewell kindness, humanity, and gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings that expand the heart! I have been Heaven's substitute to recompense the good- now the God of Vengeance yields to me his power to punish the wicked!"
Around page 500, I was seriously doubting my ability to continue another thousand pages to the finish.  But my friends encouraged me.  Luckily, around page 800, the story again gained steam.  At a dinner party scene, the various characters and back stories began overlapping and explaining each other.. and I kept muttering, "oh! aha! yes!"  And I was glad I had stuck things out.

All in all, I was thoroughly impressed with Dumas' story telling ability.  He wove a web of characters, plot lines and French history... successfully culminating into a satisfying ending of righted wrongs, lovers reunited, vengeance delivered and hope restored.  I like these endings!!

If you read this book, I encourage you to
1]keep the dictionary app on your phone open the whole time!
2]find a list of characters online and tape it to the inside of your book cover
3]download the movie to your iTunes and watch it AFTER you finish the book

So to Edmond Dantes, Sinbad the Sailor, Lord Wilmore, Abbe Busoni and the Count of Monte Cristo, thank you for entertaining me (and growing my vocabulary) the past two months.


Megs said...

Way to go, Brooke! I'm impressed!!

Carissa said...

that book is a beast. but i agree, i'm so glad i read it and i LOVED it by the end! good job brooke!