Monday, March 2, 2015

Les Miserables

One day many years ago my husband, Eric, came home to find me sobbing on the sofa.  His first reaction was to ask if the kids were okay.  I nodded through my tears; it was all I could do.  Nearly frantic, he demanded that I tell him what was wrong.  “Flint died!” I blurted.

“Who the hell is Flint?” Eric was so confused.

I didn’t have the energy to explain in detail, so I just told him that Flint was a character in the book I was reading.

I nearly had to peal the poor man off the ceiling. 

As I wiped away my tears, he ranted on and on and on about how reading was stupid and a waste of time.  We fought about it for a while.  His position was that the only reading material necessary was Archie comics while I championed reading in general and Dragon Lance (the series in which Flint met his unfortunate and untimely demise) in particular.  That a story could move someone to such genuine emotion was to be applauded I argued.
“Don’t knock it ‘til you tried it,” I challenged.

Apparently he had.  At some point in his early adulthood he had read Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
Well, no wonder he quit reading, I thought.   And I was right.  Les Miserables was the reason he had turned his back on reading, but not for the reasons I had imagined.  Though he was extremely reluctant to admit it, the story had moved him to tears and so he decided that reading was a waste of time.  (Men!)

I have yet to actually get through the entire book.  I’ve started it a couple of times, but I struggle with the writing style and always give up.  I have managed to glean a basic understanding of the story over the years, and have resigned myself to never actually getting all the way through it.  At least not in print.

Thanks, though, to the magic of video, I have finally completed the story from start to finish.  And I was impressed. 

I had a bit of a hard time imagining Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, but like Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes (and I had the same reservations) they pretty much nailed it.  It was all quite spectacular. 

And now I wonder what Eric would have thought.  He loved movies.  Would seeing this life changing story brought to life on the big screen have met his approval?  I suspect not.  I think he would have condemned it and refused to watch it – for fear of having those print-induced emotions dislodged from the deepest recesses to bubble up to the surface once again.

Oh, my strange, dear husband!  I wish you were here to prove me right.  You would be in awe of Netflix… of streaming video in general, I think.  (In spite of being as terrified of the Internet as you were.) 

Anyway, I am glad that I finally got to watch Les Miserables. 

And, yes, I was moved to some genuine emotion by it.