Sunday, September 21, 2014

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and SunNeko Lee

Many years ago, I read comics that were of classic stories.  They cost a bit more, but I collected them because they made reading the old classics so much better.  You didn't get bogged down in the words and the graphics helped with visualization.  So when I saw this manga on Les Miserables, I didn't hesitate to grab a copy to read.

Diamond Book Distributors and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can grab a copy at your local bookstore now.

I thought I had read this back in Literature class in high school a hundred years ago, but if I did, I sure don't remember it.  Only one part seemed familiar.

Jean Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.  He stole it alright, but it was to feed starving children he know.  It made no difference, he was still sentenced to jail.  He manages to escape but no one will employ him or even let him sleep in their barn.  They don't want a convict working for them.  He also has Inspector Javert on his tail trying to return him to jail.

The part of the story stuck in my mind from 48 years ago was his stay at the priest's house.  He gets up early in the morning and steals the silverware.  When the police bring him back to the priest, he says he gave him the silverware and adds two candlesticks to it.  Then he tells him to do good instead of evil and these goods should give him the money to get started.

He does succeed and he shares his money and jobs with a city and people that had nothing.  In time, he becomes the Mayor.  He always keeps to himself, though.  Underneath, he has a soft heart even if he has a hard face.  When he finds a woman in trouble on the street, he defends her and finds she had to leave her child behind.  He ends up adopting the child as his own and raises it.

Trying to survive during the French Revolution was not easy.  This more of a story of tragedy than anything else, but love is there, too.  

I have to say this was a lot more fun to read than written text.  The manga graphics are lovely.  If you haven't read this classic tale, try this way first.  If the story grabs you enough, read the entire book in classic form.  The story will make your emotions stir.

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