Halloween recommendations

Hello, beautiful people!

Halloween is less than a week away and I couldn’t be more excited! It also means that I only have one day left before my week of holidays and I really need it. We don’t celebrate Halloween that much in France, but I love it anyway and reading/watching/listening to content that remind me of this spooky and dark atmosphere during the month of October is always so much fun. Because of that, I thought that today, I would share with you some of my Halloween recommendations! Last year, I already recommended historical fantasy novels that are perfect for Halloween, so I won’t mention them again in this post, it would get quite repetitive, so feel free to (re)read it. Anyhow, time for Halloween recommendations!

For great Halloween reads, I recommend…

♡ The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell – This Gothic novel is set during the Victorian era, in a crumbling country mansion, where a young widow is sent to see out her pregnancy. While her new servants as resentful and the villagers hostile, Elsie thinks she only has her husband’s cousin for company… Or so she thinks, for behind a locked door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a creepy wooded figure that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. Its chilling atmosphere and the constant doubts of the characters makes it a gripping read that’s perfect for the season!

♡ Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – What a shocker, I am trying to make you all read Daphne du Maurier again… Well, she’s my favourite author, so it’s not *entirely* my fault. Rebecca is the fascinating story of a timid girl working as a paid companion to an old lady, until she falls in love and marries the widowed Maxim de Winter. After that, she moves to his Cornish country estate, Manderley, where the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, seems to haunt the whole place. This novel is absolutely brilliant, with an intoxicating atmosphere and you’ll want to keep reading, until you know the whole truth. By the way, if you’ve already read Rebecca, you can always give My Cousin Rachel a try, it’s perfect for the season as well and I adored the 2017 movie adaptation with Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin!

♡ If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – This mystery novel, which has been compared (with reason!) to The Secret History, follows Oliver, who has just been released from jail after ten years, and is finally ready to tell the truth about the events that led to his incarceration. Ten years ago, Oliver was one of the young Shakespearean actors at a conversatory, where roles were played on and off stage, but in their last year, the balance of power shifted, which led to violence on opening night, until the students have to face their own tragedy. Those characters are all so morally grey and reading about their passionate relationships, with a thin limit between hate and love, as well as their fascination for Shakespeare, was amazing and it’s perfect for Fall in my opinion!

♡ We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House has been all the rage lately (I can’t wait to read it for Halloween), because of the Netflix adaptation that was recently released, but Shirley Jackson’s works are full of perfect Halloween reads, from what I’ve gathered. I have already read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which follows Merricat Blackwood, who lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. There used to be seven Blackwoods… until they all died from a fatal dose of arsenic. This one is set in a small town, has a Gothic murder mystery and you never know who to trust, which is all you need!

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell – Of course, I couldn’t write this recommendation post without including some Victorian literature. I read this collection of several short stories during last year’s Victober and it was perfect to get me in a Halloween mood. These chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect: you will find a story inspired by the Salem witch hunts, another with an evil doppelganger, or one
with a
 mysterious child roaming the freezing Northumberland moors, to name a few. Those were my first Victorian spooky short stories, my personal favourites being The Poor Clare, Lois the Witch, The Old Nurse’s Story and The Grey Woman. This is also your reminder to read Elizabeth Gaskell, she’s a wonderful author!

 Crooked House by Agatha Christie – I’ve spent 2018 reading one of Agatha Christie’s novels per month, so I’m starting to know her works quite well; my favourite I’ve read this year was Crooked House and what is better than a crime novel, surrounding a family in a big mansion, to spend Halloween with? It follows the Leonides family, that were a seemingly happy family, until the head of the household was murdered. I adore reading about imperfect families in crime novels, where everyone is suspect, when the limit between hate and love can be very thin, and Crooked House was perfect for that!

I also recommend you to watch and listen to…

♡ Stranger Things (Netflix, 2016) – I don’t think I really need to introduce Stranger Things to anyone now, don’t I? This TV show, sets in 1983 Hawkins, Indiana, and is the story of a young boy who vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl. Even if almost everyone has watched Stranger Things, I think that Halloween would be a perfect time for a rewatch for all of us, while we’re still waiting for season 3 to be released… *sigh*

Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) – I have to admit that I’ve always been easily scared, so I don’t watch a lot of spooky movies (even though I’m trying to change that) and I’m not really the best at recommending them. However, I rewatch the animated movie Corpse Bride every year, because it’s a huge part of my childhood. In a fictional Victorian town, Victor and Victoria, who haven’t even met yet, are set to be married, until Victor ends up putting a ring on a forest root while practicing his vows… Which happens to be the finger of a murdered woman. He then goes to the Land of the Dead, meeting Emily, said woman in a bridal gown who claims to be his wife. Ensues all kinds of mayhem, while Victor tries to go back to the surface, but also to do the right thing. I adore the songs of this movie so much and it’s so aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Halloween really is the best time to rewatch Tim Burton’s animated movies in general, tbh. *starts singing This is Halloween*

♡ Andrew Lloyd Weber’s 
The Phantom of the Opera (1986) – I might have developed a *slight* obsession for the musical version of The Phantom of the Opera earlier this year (the book isn’t that great, if you were considering reading it, though) and it’s definitely a perfect Halloween musical! I mean, a mysterious phantom running around an opera in Paris? Yes, please. Can you believe that it’s been created in 1986 and it’s still running? That’s how great it is! So please go listen to it, it’s so dramatic and spooky at times! The Music of the Night is my favourite song of it all and it’s giving me major Kylo Ren vibes. I so want to watch the musical live in London at some point, it must be so spectacular.

Oh, how I cannot wait for Halloween to come around. I have *finally* figured out my potential Halloween costume and I’m planning to have a little celebration with my best friend. We’ll try to make Halloween-themed food and drinks like last year, and we’ll watch Crimson Peak, hopefully we won’t be too scared, haha.

How are you planning to celebrate Halloween?

Lots of love,

Credits: The ghosts and bats in the first picture picture were designed by Titusurya.

Mamma Mia! Book Tag

Hello beautiful people!

A few days ago, Romie @ Romie We Deserve Love did the Mamma Mia! Book Tag and not only did I scream, because that’s all I wanted and it gives me a reason to talk about how much I love Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and to write a post with gifs of Lily James, but also because I didn’t know it existed (okay, it was only created recently, but still)?! Thank you, Romie, for bringing it to my attention, you’re amazing! So of course, I’m doing this tag today, because how could I not? This tag was created by Ashley @ Ashley Outpaged and you can find the original video here.

Like so many people, I adore Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. I was so excited about the sequel coming out, even more when they announced that Lily James would play young Donna, because I’ve loved her since Downton Abbey and will watch anything she’s in. She’s such an amazing actress and I’m so glad she’s finally getting more recognition! I’ve been so obsessed with the movie and have been listening to the soundtrack all the time for the past month. I can’t wait until the DVD release, so I can rewatch it again and again.

But anyway, time for the tag!

Side note: I couldn’t find gifs for all the songs, but I did my best haha. Also, as I put gifs, minor spoilers for the movie I guess?

When I Kissed the Teacher | Name a book with a shocking plot twist

I’m usually quite good at figuring out plot twists, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid had a shocking plot twist for me! It kinda made it easier for me to predict the twists of that type of books now though, but I’m not mad, as it was splendidly done in that one. But maybe the most shocking plot twist was that I knew I wanted to reread it a hundred pages into it? How did you do that, Taylor Jenkins Reid? Um… I was also trying to find a way to mention it, as it’s one of my favourite books and Evelyn would totally have kissed the teacher too, so… you know… 

Waterloo | Name a book you’re positive you’ll be in love with

Am I supposed to think of the books in my TBR? That I have added on Goodreads? Well, we’ll just take into consideration my enormous TBR, which is made of… two books (at long last, I won’t have a TBR by next Monday and I’ll be able to conduct a very interesting I-don’t-have-a-TBR experiment, but I digress). Anyway, I’m quite positive I’ll love Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, I’ve been so excited about this one and it’s actually set during the Napoleonic Wars, so I find even funnier that it’s my answer for the Waterloo question. Now, I better love it, or it’ll be awkward.

Why Did It Have To Be Me | Name a book you went to 
to get over a reading slump

I don’t have reading slumps really often and the last really bad one happened in 2015. The book that got me out of it was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, I read it in one or two sittings. Since then, it has ignited a love for everything Becky Albertalli writes and I adore the movie, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart.

I Have a Dream | Name a book character that inspires you

It’s not going to be very original, as I already mentioned this character in the Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag, but she means so much to me. Juliet Ashton from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society inspires me all the time, through her personality, through her writing, through her whole story. I also picture her as Lily James because of the movie, so it’s true it fed my love for her even more. If I had to pick another character, so my answers would be
a bit more original, Frances Janvier from Radio Silence also really inspires me to work hard, pursue what I love and put myself out there, even when it means going out of the path most people take.

Andante, Andante | Name your current read

I’m currently reading two books. First, I’m reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, which I’m planning to finish today (I have a hundred pages left, so), as there is a 24h readathon happening tomorrow. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by it, as I haven’t been screaming at the historical inaccuracies that much, it’s quite easy to read once the plot has really started and it’s so entertaining. I’m also slowly making my way through Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales: a Selection, I’ve been reading tales here and there. Can you tell that we’re in August and I’m participating in the #classicsathon?

Knowing Me, Knowing You | Name a book you had to break up with and DNF

I recently DNF-ed The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy, which made me a bit sad because I so wanted to read it, but I didn’t click with her writing at all and as it was about her life (which was so heartbreaking), I didn’t want to force myself to read it. I started it during my 31 books in 31 days challenge, I didn’t want to drag it behind me all month, and it was a wise decision. Sorry, little book.

Mamma Mia | Name a book you recently read again

I reread The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows at the beginning of the month (what a surprise) and fell in love with it even more than the first time around. It’s definitely one of my favourite books of all time and such a gem, I already want to reread it, which might be a problem, as I just did. I almost wish I could keep this treasure to myself at times, even though many people fell in love with it before I did, haha, I’m a bit possessive when it comes to it. *hides* Also, Juliet Ashton is probably my favourite book character ever, but I already said that.

Dancing Queen | Name a book that made you want to dance around the room

I had trouble finding an answer to this question, until I got through my Goodreads shelves, saw Autoboyography by Christina Lauren and realised it was the perfect answer. It is quite a hyped novel, but I totally agree with it and this book made me so happy (and broke my heart several times, but oh well). Not only was the bi rep absolutely amazing, but I related to Daniel so much, which was quite unexpected. I adored the way the romance was written, but also seeing present and supportive parents, it made my heart full. I need more contemporary novels like this one. Tanner and Daniel, I miss you.

Super Trouper | Name a series you haven’t finished due to its intimidating size

I still need to finish some trilogies, but that’s not because of their size, so I’m not quite sure it counts. However, I still haven’t started the A Song of I
ce and Fire
by George R.R. Martin, nor Robin Hobb’s huge Realms of the Elderlings series (there are three trilogies and two spin-offs series or something? WHAT?) due to their intimidating size. I am finally finding motivation to read fantasy again, though, after such lack of that this year (for me, that is). The book coming out this Fall about the Targaryens makes me want to pick up the A Song of Ice and Fire series really soon and it’s on my reading bucket list of 2018, so it’s time. I think I also got the final push from my boyfriend to read Robin Hobb’s books, he just read the first one and adored it (he literally said he loved it more than Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? He only read the series last year, but still?), and my parents have been obsessed with it for years. Time to stop putting those series off.

Writing this post has been so much fun, as I had no choice, but to listen to the soundtrack yet again to type my answers! I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but if you’re obssessed with the movie like I am and want to do this tag, bam, you’ve been tagged!

That’s it for me today y’all, now I’ll go back to singing along to the soundtrack!

Have a nice day,

Lots of love,

On the Greatest Showman

Hello, beautiful people! 
Last Friday, I finally went to see The Greatest Showman – it only came out on Wednesday in France – because I was curious: I had first been very excited to see the movie, then heard about problematic elements, but as I have an unlimited movie card, I decided to go and make my own opinion about this movie and oh my, did I have a lot of thoughts in my head when I left the theatre. I’ve been debating whether or not I should write a blog post about it, because it came out more than a month ago in the rest of the world and most people have already seen it, but well, that’s what blogging is for: sharing your opinions, the good, the bad, and to write about what you want. Let’s just address the elephant in the room right away: I have a very mixed opinion about this movie. 

What is The Greatest Showman about? 
Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation. [Synopsis taken from the video below] 

What I liked 
I’m going to ramble a lot during the second half of this blog post, but I have to confess that there were elements I liked in The Greatest ShowmanI totally understand why so many people are obsessed with it, so let’s start with the positive. 
The songs are absolutely amazing – I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman ever since it was released at the beginning of December and I’ve loved the songs from the first times I’ve listened to them. They were written by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also worked on the songs of Dear Evan Hansen (one of my favourite musicals) and wrote the lyrics for the songs from La La Land (and we all know that it’s one of my favourite movies). I think that the songs and most importantly, the musical numbers, are the best part of the movie and if it could have been made exclusively of them, I would have taken that. From the moment A Million Dreams started (and that’s the second song), I cried during every musical number, because the songs are THAT good. (Also, I really love Rewrite the Stars and I’ll be crying about it for a long time) 
The movie is so aesthetically pleasing – The musical numbers, the costumes, the production design, the cinematography… My eyes really loved watching this movie. Despite the problems I had with it, I have to confess that it was absolutely stunning and I didn’t know where to look, because I wanted to look everywhere. Like I already said, I loved the musical numbers, but they did such a fantastic job. Wow. 
The casting was on point – Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and so many other amazing actors were in The Greatest Showman and they did a fantastic job (I only mentioned fivenames because those are the actors I already knew prior to this movie). It’s quite funny, because as I adore Hugh Jackman and would want to trust him, I was always torn between my hate for Barnum’s character and the fact that he tried to make him more relatable, which almost made me want to like him.  
*Daisy Ridley’s voice* I feel the conflict in you. It’s tearing you apart.  
The messages they tried to get through – This movie celebrates diversity, embracing who you are despite what society would want you to be. Those are great messages and This Is Me was quite an empowering song in that sense. I would have loved for them to go even farther into this, but sadly, there wasn’t enough time in the movie for that. 

Philip Carlyle and Anne Wheeler – It’s interesting, when you do some research on this movie, to discover that these two didn’t exist and yet, they had one of the best storylines. It is already established that I hated Barnum for many reasons that I will explain after, but Philip had such an amazing character development. He was a privileged, white able-bodied man who had everything and decided to invest in Barnum’s show. He truly found who he really was during the movie and he was so much more of a redeemable character than Barnum could have been. If we have to see the movie from the point of view of a privileged white man, I would rather have it from Philip’s than Barnum’s. 
He also had a romance with Anne, a trapezist from the show, and they used quite a few of my favourite romance tropes for them, so I was 100% there for it (highlight if you want to see the small /spoiler/ they touched hands and I almost fell off my chair). I have a little reservation though: they showed that their romance was frowned upon, but it felt more like they were saying it was because Anne performed in the circus, when it also was because she was bla
ck when Philip was white. They never said that clearly and I think that some of the audience might have missed the point with that (but I might be wrong). I wish that aspect of their storyline had been explored further, but other than that, I really loved them and 
Rewrite the Stars is perfect. 

What I didn’t like 
Before I start ranting about what I didn’t like: we’re all different and that’s just my opinion. I’m not saying that everything I write is the truth and no one should question it, I’m just talking about what I felt watching the movie and when I did a little bit of research on Barnum. Many people loved this movie and I’m so happy for them, really. If I sound a bit harsh, it’s because I really dislike Barnum and all my hate is directed towards him. 
The movie was too short for the plot to go in-depth – The thing is, this movie is 105-minute long. I should have been happy about that, because it meant I wouldn’t be bored, but in The Greatest Showman‘s case, I believed that it would have been way better for it to be longer. I needed more backstory on the characters to understand them more and it was filled with plot holes. Everything was rushed, because there were the musical numbers to consider and they’d be three to five minutes long (which I didn’t mind, considering they were my favourite part of the movie), but because of that, the plot was put to the side, in my opinion. It was all over the place and they couldn’t go in-depth.  
I would have loved to see Charles or Lettie’s points of view more. I would have loved for them to go in-depth about the racial issues when it came to Philip and Anne’s romance. We didn’t know Anne or W.D.’s stories and it bothered me, because Anne was such an important character in the movie. They tried to do so much with this movie, which is a good thing, because the idea behind it was great, but they couldn’t talk about everything and we stayed on the surface for most topics. I just needed more.

Once again, it’s just the story of a white able-bodied male saviour, when this movie was supposed to be about people who were different. – I am sorry, but this movie is just about Barnum creating the show, messing everything up, to be forgiven everything at the end of the day, because he gave them a family*. It’s the story of a man who thinks he’s different, when he truly wasn’t and just uses people who are different to get as much money as he can. The movie is told through his eyes, tries to present him as a man who helped people finding their places in the world and embracing who they really were, and that’s about it. I don’t care about him, I care about the secondary characters and they were the ones I wanted to hear the most.
If you want to make a movie about people who are different, why do you have to make it through the perspective of the white able-bodied man? WHY? Granted, This is me was an empowering song and I adore it, but even then… It’s just in reaction to Barnum’s behaviour. it truly made me sad, I so wish this movie had included more of the characters’ points of views and hadn’t been so much about Barnum ‘saving’ them, when he didn’t do such a thing. While we’re at it, I’d also like to point out that of course (I’m being sarcastic, I’m sadly not surprised by this), except for Sam Humphrey who portrays Charles Stratton (known on the stage as General Tom Thumb), none of the actors have the conditions of their characters. 
*Now, I realise that they weren’t accepted by society, that their families hid them away and that for the first time in their lives, they felt like they belonged and I’m very happy about that aspect of the movie. But it’s not because someone helps you at a moment in your life when you have nothing (especially to exploit you) that they should be forgiven everything. 
The portrayal of P.T. Barnum – Okay, I know what you’re about to say: ‘but this movie wasn’t historically accurate! They just used his name because he invented the circus!’ The thing is, that’s what I thought, at first. However, they used one of his quotes at the very end of the movie, right before the credits, so yes, it was about the real Barnum anyway. They also used quite a few details from his life (except that he didn’t come from nothing, they just wanted us to have empathy for him), so I’m sorry, but they didn’t just use his name: they romanticized P.T. Barnum’s life to make him sound much nicer than he actually was* 
Barnum bought some of the people he put in the stage, some of the performers were given by their parents at nine months old or four years old. Barnum mistreated animals, made people pay to see an autopsy on a slave he claimed to have been the George Washington’s slave (she was supposedly 161 years old), he was a conman and not the nice man the movie made him to be. I wasn’t completely sure I would ever end up posting this, until I had an argument with someone at uni who said: “but I don’t mind if they were enslaved/exploited, at least they got to perform” and I was completely shocked. True, the performers didn’t have a lot of options in their lives, but they weren’t treated well anyway and you can’t just igno
re that they didn’t completely come from their own free will.
In the movie, you see some moments where Barnum was ashamed of them and how he just wanted to use them to gain as much money as he could and didn’t actually care about them. In my opinion, the movie manipulates us into liking Barnum, because Hugh Jackman seems like such a nice guy and you want to trust him. I understand that The Greatest Showman is a musical, we want characters to be nice, to be redeemed, but I feel like I’ve been manipulated and I do not like that at all. I rewatched the trailer while I was writing this post and the way Barnum is presented is so misleading, it got on my nerves even more.  
*I am very aware that The Greatest Showman is fiction, but if it’s to romanticise the life of an awful man and make people like him, I can’t be there for it. 
Overall, I don’t think that The Greatest Showman was a bad movie per se, it had quite a few good elements and I genuinely understand why people adore it so much. However, I had so many issues with it that in the end, the more I think about it, the more disappointed I am. I think that I suffered from my usual history major curse and I was so sick to see the same overused tropes when this movie was supposed to be different. I’ll still listen to the songs, though, because I want to support the songwriters who worked on them and they were the best aspect of the movie. If you’re curious, I got most of my informations from all the links I put right below and once again, I wrote this to share my opinion on The Greatest Showman, we all think in different ways, we can’t always agree and that’s great!

To go further: 
Thank you for reading, 
Lots of love, 

Les Misérables: a book, a musical, a movie, and what it means to me

Me hugging Les Misérables, because hugging your favourite books is good for the soul.

Hello, beautiful people!

As you probably already know, I am completely obsessed with Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, as well as the musical and its movie adaptation. I had read the abridged version of the book when I was twelve and absolutely loved it, but this year, I decided it was time to read the unabridged version. I finally did so this month, and I fell in love with it all over again, except that it’s even more powerful than it used to be. Today, I just wanted to talk to you about my story with Les Misérables (it’s been thirteen years in the making. yup.) and to try to tell you why I love it so much.

What is Les Misérables about?

Les Misérables is a French novel published by Victor Hugo in 1862 and it’s really emblematic in French literature. It describes the lives of miserable people in 19th century France, both in Paris and the countryside, following more specifically Jean Valjean’s life, a former convict.

My story with Les Misérables

I remember hearing about Les Misérables for the first time when I was about seven or eight. A teacher in elementary school once said ‘Come on Cosette, go fetch us some water’ as a joke, before explaining where the reference came from. For some reason, it always stayed in my mind, until I was twelve and had to read the abridged version for a class. We were supposed to read it for January or February, but once my parents bought me the book in October, I devoured it, stayed up way past my bedtime to read it, and became completely obsessed. My schoolmates complained a lot about having to read it, and I went through it twice. I fell in love with Victor Hugo’s writing, the characters and the story. Now, as you probably already know, I’m French. What most of you don’t know is that I come from the north of the country. The first book of Les Misérables is set there, most of it in Montreuil-sur-Mer (my actual hometown is the place where the fake Jean Valjean’s trial takes place, it was fate). I’ve been to this town for as long as I can remember, walking along the battlements and the old castle. Every year, Montreuil-sur-Mer has a sound and light show, a sort of reenactment of Les Misérables, as part of the story is set there. I begged my parents to go the year I first read the book and they took one of my brothers and I. It was a very cold summer evening (it’s the north of France, after all), but while I was freezing, seeing the characters alive in front of my eyes amazed me and I have such a fond memory of it. That’s how I first became obsessed with Les Misérables.

As you can see, I definitely didn’t know about the musical… Until they decided to adapt it into a movie. I saw a lot of gifs on Tumblr and decided to start listening to the songs, which I completely fell in love with. I didn’t see the movie right away, because I’m not sure they showed it in my hometown or I had someone to watch it with me, and it was years until I finally did. I was already obsessed with Eddie Redmayne by then and you know… He’s playing Marius’ part in it (hence 60% of my love for Marius). Anyhow, I watched the movie and fell in love all over again (it was also a weird experience the first time, because I started watching it in a train with lots of noise…). I listened to the songs for months on end and I still listen to them at least once a week. 

Then, back in September… I saw the musical live in West End, in London. It was one of the best moments of my entire life and I cried most of the time, because it was a dream come true. I can’t thank my boyfriend enough for buying us these tickets, I thought it would be way too expensive and didn’t dare to dream going for at least a few years. Now, I’m planning on going back again and again, I know I’ll never be tired of it.

Last but not least, this month, I read the unabridged version of the novel. While it’s 1662 pages long… I read it in three days. I still don’t know how. It is one of the best books I have ever read and it made it into my top 3 books of all times, without even needing to try. I’m already thinking about rereading it over and over again. After I finished it, I rewatched the movie again, have been listening to the songs on repeat again, and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Why do I love Les Misérables so much?

Now, that is a complex question, because Les Misérables is a book, a musical, a movie, my entire life. I will never be able to do Victor Hugo’s words justice, nor the musical’s.

I love the book in all its complexity. I won’t lie, it’s not for everyone, because it has long descriptions, a lot of historical facts and it can seem boring sometimes (I guess?). Yet, I love history and being so engrossed in a book that I feel like I time-traveled in a different era. With Les Misérables, I time travel and for me, there aren’t too many words, it’s just fine. Hugo describes everything perfectly to give you a sense of what early 19th
 century France was like, of why these characters act like this or why the plot is going that way. He’s always going back to give a backstory to his characters and because of that, they’re perfectly developed. You all know how obsessed I am with Marius Pontmercy, and I feel like I know everything I need to know about him. He could have been a real person, for all I know. Victor Hugo’s characters are perfectly fleshed-out, he shows you the good, all of the bad, he doesn’t try to sugarcoat anything. I got something out of every character in this novel. Les Misérables is about the hardships of life, how you can make the right choices and yet seem all wrong in society’s eyes, how you can still dare to hope and fight for your dreams, to be recognised and even if it didn’t work, at least you tried (that last part isn’t so happy but hey, it’s life). Les Misérables is the story of a society that is still relevant today, a heart-breaking tale, an adventure, a sum of knowledge, a romance, and so much more. For me, you can’t fit it in one genre (it’s considered to be a historical, social and philosophical novel), unless you consider ‘a literary masterpiece’ as one.

One of the other reasons I love Les Misérables so much can seem pretty random, but it’s relevant to my life. Like I told you, I come from the north of France, which always made the first part of the book important to me, because it was set home, in a way. For a long time, it was the part of the story I knew the most, I didn’t know that much about Marius, or Cosette when she was older. Recently, it struck me. I moved to Paris for my studies, to begin my adult life, four and a half years ago. The second part of the novel is set in Paris, Cosette is older, like I was, in a way; the friends of the ABC meet in the Latin Quarter, so close to where I live. It might be one of the cheesiest things I have ever written, but the geography of Les Misérables is the geography of my life, somehow. This story will always be even closer to my heart for personal reasons I can’t exactly explain, but it makes me love the book even more.

For me and many other people out there, Les Misérables also means the musical. I discovered it later, but it’s a masterpiece on its own as well. All the songs are absolutely amazing and now that I’ve read the entire book, I can tell you that all the lyrics have twelve times more meanings than you might think. Every little thing is a reference to a detail of the book. Every time I listen to the songs, I discover a new one. The songs of the musical are moving, unforgettable and even iconic today. The musical has run continuously in London since October 1985, it’s been thirty-two years and the theatre is still full whenever they play it. I first saw the musical as a movie and I love it with all my heart, but when I was about to see the musical on stage… I wondered how they would do it. Let me tell you that the staging is genius, the costumes, amazing, the actors, so talented. It’s perfect. It’s my favourite musical by far, and I’m a huge lover of musicals. I’m sure the musical will still run for a long time, and I know that I’ll go back to see it as many times as I can.

I can’t convey all of my thoughts into proper words, but I do love Les Misérables with my entire body, soul and heart (I’m being overdramatic, but I couldn’t care less). It’s a story that has been following me since my childhood and will never truly leave me. My words will never be able to do it justice, but at least, I tried. Writing this post was a cathartic experience for me, because I know that my words are stocked somewhere and that I will always be able to reread them. If you read this entire post, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your time means the world to me.

Lots of love,