"Revenge is a dish best served cold". Those words could sum up Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo. The story revolves around a young man by the name of Edmond Dantes who is unjustly imprisoned by those closest to him. In the beginning of the story Edmond is just a young man who has everything going for him. He just received a promotion to captain, has a beautiful fiance and a loving father. He's a good man, honest, trusting and full of integrity. Of course those traits help to lead to his downfall.
He has acquaintances who are jealous of his good-fortune and conspire against him. Just before his wedding Edmond is arrested on suspicion of treason. At first it appears that the prosecutor has seen through the lies of his acquaintances and will let him go. However after hearing some of the details, he changes his mind and sends an unsuspecting Edmond to prison. Edmond spends fourteen years in prison before a set of fortuitous circumstances enable him to make his escape. After his escape, Edmond reinvents himself as the Count of Monte Cristo and infiltrates the social circle of his enemies. He works towards gaining their trust and admiration in order to exact his revenge. It's a process that takes him years.
I loved the book. I hated seeing poor Edmond being betrayed by people he trusted and being locked in a dark cell for so long. One can only imagine what that would do to you as a person. I found myself almost cheering when he got out and tasted freedom again. From there it got a little slow moving as he sets works himself into their society and sets his traps. Maybe I'm not a patient person because I don't think I could integrate and befriend these people who ruined my life long enough to exact revenge. I think I'd be much more likely to run in, guns blazing, and mow them down. However as the story progresses and you start seeing what he has planned for each of them, it becomes much more satisfying. I love watching these people just walk right into their own traps. As my mom says "The best things come to those who wait".
Although as a mother myself, I was a little irritated that the children of his enemies were often central to his plans for revenge. I'm of the belief that you don't bring people's kids into disagreements. However, as a parent I know that sometimes the best way to screw with people's heads and hearts is through their kids. I also respect the fact that despite using the kids to get back at the parents, he never actually set out to harm any of them. He just uses them to lay his traps and he actually develops fond feelings for many of them so I forgave him for using them.
The end was a bit different from what I had hoped would happen but it was satisfying nonetheless. My expectations were tainted a bit because I've seen the 2002 movie adaptation of the book. If you've only seen the movie, I highly suggest picking up the book. They are vastly different and as is the norm, the book is much better than the movie. The movie leaves out or changes so many of the details that they are barely the same story.
I'm sticking with slightly older books for now and am moving onto Little Women. I think I may head back to the more recent books after that one though, just to change it up a bit. The older books are great but I'm getting ready for something more contemporary. I just need to hit up the bookstore again.
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