Can I just say how proud I am of myself for finishing this book in only a year and a half? And especially for getting through 900 of the 1400+ pages in the past week?
Yes, it was an excessively long book. The longest I have ever read in my life. Since I enjoyed the abridged version (about 500 pages) so much, I promised myself I’d someday make it through the entire unabridged book. It’s been several years since I read the abridged, so it was usually hard to tell what story lines were left out; I did finally find a few parts that were completely new to me this time, and they were really enjoyable. In all fairness, the book could easily have been 300 pages shorter simply by reducing the amount of tedious description; however, I get the impression that books were written differently in the 1800s (Moby Dick, anyone?).
Wasteful descriptions aside, The Count of Monte Cristo is an amazing story of a man who feels it is his duty to punish the wicked and reward the righteous – but who discovers that such punishments and rewards don’t always have their intended effects, and the wicked and the righteous are not always so easy to distinguish.
My only other complaint with the book is the Count’s odd relationship with his Greek slave. Suddenly realizing that you’re in love with the girl you’ve adopted as your daughter (and who is plenty young enough to be) is just kind of weird. I suppose there is one other thing I disliked, and that was the Romeo & Juliet storyline at the very end.
However, the faults are fewer than the strengths, and I feel it was worth my time and energy to understand the Count and his sufferings. Dumas does an excellent job of demonstrating that only God can fairly punish and reward; the best efforts of man are usually misguided.
If you feel up to it, by all means, read the unabridged version. For a much shorter read, try the abridged; if you just want a story with a few of the same characters (some bearing only the same name and no other qualities), please watch the movie, which is excellent in its own right.
Hey! I finished a really long book! Hooray for me!