The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

I have never been so happy to be done with a book! It’s unfortunate because so many people (including the one who recommended it to me) have said it’s their favorite book. But by the end, I couldn’t enjoy the writing and story anymore. I was at a point where I was forcing myself to press on just so I could finish the darned thing. It’s not a terrible story – there were sections that certainly kept my attention – but this is one of those books that’s definitely not for everyone.

Title – The Count of Monte Cristo

Author – Alexandre Dumas

Page count – 1065 (nope, that’s not a typo)

Rating – It’s weird to publicly rate books that people have recommended for you. I hate to say it, but unless you’re looking for a very specific challenge…Bypass.

In a nutshell, this book is about a man who is wrongly imprisoned but escapes to exact revenge. That’s about all the book and movie versions have in common. I was actually really excited to read it because I enjoyed the movie so much! Although there are quite a few of the same main characters, their personalities and relationships are dramatically different. And except for that one most basic plot element, the story follows a totally different path.

Now, I don’t want to say, “Well, the movie was good, but the book was different. Therefore, the book was bad.” I did my best to read the book on its own merits. My biggest problem: it was TOO LONG. Far too long. (Many) characters could have been cut and the story condensed to make for a far more riveting novel. At times I got the vibe from the author that I sometimes get from real-live people that they only keep talking because they like the sound of their own voice. And, unfortunately, that ends up drowning out the interesting bits of what they have to say.

**Minor spoiler ahead for a specific character**

One element that did not change – and I’m so glad it didn’t because he’s my favorite character – is the existence of Dantès’s fellow prisoner, the Abbé Faria. He is the classic wise old man (in the movie, he’s fittingly played by Richard Harris, who also played the original Dumbledore). Here is a passage of him describing a sort of clock he had traced on the wall:

“Look at this ray of light which enters by my window…Well, by means of these lines, which are in accordance with the double motion of the earth, as well as the ellipses it describes around the sun, I am enabled to ascertain the precise hour with more minuteness than if I possessed a watch; for that might be broken or deranged in its movements, while the sun and earth never vary in their appointed paths.” (p. 125)

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