Sunday, January 27, 2013

Les Mis Week 2, JVJ and Fantine

We are still cruising through Les Mis (the book) and we have completed and discussed the next two books. 

(See here for why we're reading Les Mis, and here for Week 1, The Bishop)

Volume 1 Book 2 - The Fall

The part we've been waiting for, Jean Valjean has made an appearance!  It seems to be the typical story we know from the musical he comes to a town and no one will let him work or stay at their inn because he is on parole.  The only place the will open it's door to him is the the Bishop (who we met in the first book).  You know the rest, while everyone is sleeping he steals the silver and when confronted with the law he says the Bishop gave it to him as a gift and the Bishop agrees and tells JVJ he must use the silver to become an honest man (The whole time I was singing all these parts in my head, like a crazy person!).

In between all the action in the book, you learn the history of JVJ and how he got to prison and why he spent so many years there.  A few points I found interesting were that his family (his sister and her children) didn't seem to really care for him but he went to prison because he couldn't provide for them anymore and stole some bread.   I thought maybe he would care about his family more or they would care about him, but apparently not.  The other thing I thought was interesting was how RoB and I disagreed on when he went to steal the silver if he also thought about killing the bishop.  I got the feeling that's what he was planning to do, but RoB says no, what do you think?

The very end of this book was depressing, with Gervitas and his stolen coin.  I realize that is JVJ's turning point and from then on he realizes he needs to become a good person.  But it was heartbreaking that he was stealing from a child.

Volume 1 Book 3 - In The Year 1817

Now we meet Fantine, and her baby daddy! But before we get there, there is a whole chapter about what is going in in France that year, I couldn't follow any of it and I skipped a large chunk of it.  Back to Fantine and her story. I didn't expect Fantine's lover to be a well off scholar (of sorts), and he seemed to fawn over her.  I thought he would be a worker or passerby that she had a short fling with, but this was more serious.  Until, of course, we realize he is leaving her.  The other part I thought was interesting was that he didn't even know about the baby when he left her.  Him and his buddies decided they were just going to string along these 4 ladies for a while and then tell them it wouldn't work because their families expect more of them, sigh.  This depressed me quite a bit, and I felt really bad for Fantine.

Next up we find out what happens to Fantine's child, and what has become of JVJ since he decided to become an honest man with the silver from the bishop.  If there is anyone else out there reading or has read this please chime in and let me know your thoughts!

I'm also tying this in with a link-up this week with over at sweet green tangerine and semi-charmed kind of life.  The topic this week is what are you currently reading, and I thought this fit it perfectly.  I do have to say that I enjoy reading something so well known and respected so when anyone asks me what I'm reading I don't have to explain what it is or explain myself for why I'm reading yet another YA book :)

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