Les Miserables


I haven’t finished yet. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever read it again so I chose to read the unabridged version. That makes over 1200 pages. I have finished volume 1 which is 200 pages.

  1. Who are the miserable ones that the title refers to? Who in our society today are downtrodden as these are?
    1. The people who are starting so far down at the bottom that they cannot find a way to help themselves. They are not given opportunity to be members of society, they are unfairly punished with no assistance or even freedom to take care of their daily needs. What they do is so crushing and consuming that they have no time to have a spirit or to experience life, all is drudgery.
    2. The modern-day slaves in the book Not For Sale and the poorest in all societies are the people who experience this today.
  2. The characters are complex. Many are likeable, but not necessarily good (or they are good, yet not so likeable). Examine one or more of the characters, looking at his or her choices, and what they represent on a more universal level.
    1. I admit I haven’t read the entire book, but even when I finish I suspect my favorite character will still be Monseigneur Bienvenu. I agree with Carrie’s post on that. I was glad the book started with his character because I was so intrigued and convicted by him. And he lives with such integrity that when Valjean shows up it is no effort at all to treat him the way he does.
  3. What do you think that the theme of Les Mis is?
    1. Grace and greed. Either want to protect and keep for ourselves and are jealous of any others (even when they experience good), or able to see that none of it has value unless shared.
    2. I think Valjean shows what the result of grace can be. He was just a young man trying to survive before he went to prison and something worse when he got out. But with the grace and love that he received from the Bishop and the true faith that he received we see he became a successful businessman able to help so many others.
  4. How would you classify this novel? It covers so many themes — allegory, suspense, romance, war. Which storyline appealed most to you?
    1. The first volume showed the true life of faith of Bishop Myriel and the conversion and honest life of Jean Valjean. The life of grace and trust in God appealed to me most.
  5. The experience: Which version did you read (how many pages)? Did you like it? If it’s not your first time to read it, how did this reading compare to others?
    1. This was a bit difficult. I read the unabridged version (at least 1258 pages). I started with a copy from the library but finally bought a copy so I wasn’t under the pressure of the due date (although I did have a due date for the 5M5B post).
    2. I have never read the book or seen the movie so this was a first for me. I finished volume 1 and loved it. But I did find myself impatient to move along. I finally gave in and read the summary on wikipedia so I could go ahead and figure out what was going to happen.
    3. I will definitely finish the book. I have a better opinion of abridged versions now, I think Hugo is a bit wordy in places.
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8 Responses to Les Miserables

  1. Like you, I still haven’t finished Les Miserables. And like you, I’m reading the unabridged version and have a much higher opinion of abridged versions now. : )

    I’m loving it, even though I’ve skipped one whole section already (the battle scene).

    Very good insights here. Thanks for sharing!

    Amy @ Hope Is the Word’s last blog post..Memory Monday–Colossians 3:1-17

  2. Yep–I tried to tell all of you — go with the abridged!! I can’t call a book that is 600 – 800 pages in an abridged version.

    That said, even the abridged version is wordy in places and the minor characters are given a LOT of attention.

    Keep plugging away and I highly recommend skimming when you glaze over.

    I’m glad you posted.

    Jennifer, Snapshot & (5M4B)’s last blog post..Read and Reviewed

  3. Bluestocking says:



  4. Nise' says:

    I must have read an abridged of the abridged version! There were huge sections left out. Hope you finish and see it on the stage if you can!

  5. Deanna says:

    I am in the camp that believes – Les Miserables deserves to be read in an abridged version.

    The Bishop is my favorite character. He did live his life with great and admirable integrity. For me, something to aim for…

  6. Kipi says:

    I’m also reading the unabridged version. I’m glad I did, but calling Hugo “wordy” is an understatement!

    Kipi’s last blog post..Book review – Les Misérables

  7. Yes, I have not gotten very far in this read, but I was able to post based on my previous readings– isn’t it just an absolute beautiful book? I would greatly recommend at least listening to a recording of the Broadway production. It’s very condensed, but the music is so powerful!

    Loved reading your take on the book!

    morninglight mama’s last blog post..to love another person is to see the face of God

  8. Jols says:

    I just finished reading the unabridged version which is 1432 pages long. It feels so fulfilling to have finished this book. I did skim over the battle scene and a few other places where he rambled on and on. I appreciate his detail but it can get to be too much at times especially when he interrupts the story to tell pages and pages of the smallest detail. I highly recomend this version and for those who are struggling to finish, push on because the end is the best part!

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