About thirty years ago, I read The Three Musketeers and loved it. Recently, my book club decided to read The Count of Monte Cristo, so I was very much looking forward to reading it. It is the story of Edmonde Dantes. He has everything going for him until it all falls apart in one night. In prison for a crime he has not committed, he gives up on life until a fellow prisoner tunnels into his cell. The two form a friendship that motivates him to survive and find a way out of the prison to rejoin those he loves and punish those who put him there.
This book was written as a serial in the newspaper from 1844 to 1846. It shows. There is a lot of story within a story. It feels a bit like a very entertaining soap opera. However, I was not as put off by it as I was by the interminable descriptions of Dickens or the tedious histrionics of Hugo. Edmonde (the titular Count of Monte Cristo) is a very likeable person for the first half of the book. I found him and his behavior much less likeable as the story progressed.
In the end, this book was much too long. It is literally the length of three books! If not for wanting to find out how it ends and the fact that I was reading it for my book club, I am not sure I would have finished it. One thing is for sure. In the future, I have no plans to read classics originally written as serials. Even so, the story is interesting. I can definitely see why it held newspaper readers’ attention for two years. But I can’t understand why people still love it so much today.
My rating: 3/5