Thursday, July 18, 2013

80. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Victor Hugo
Around 450 pages

Wow, two reviews in a day.  That sure beats my usual rate: one review every month and a half.  I just finished this one when I was on vacation and have been eager to write about it ever since.

This is one of those stories that everyone knows and if you are a nineties child like me, probably grew up watching (although I didn't watch this one until I was older because my mom deemed it as inappropriate).  This is the story of La Esmeralda, a woman so beautiful that every guy that looks at her falls in love (why do so many heroines in our books have this problem?  I have never met a woman who had that complaint).  She herself falls in love with Phoebus, a douchebag soldier who gets her in all kinds of trouble.  Additionally, Frollo and his adopted, deformed son Quasimodo, fall for her charms which ultimately leads to her destruction.  Oh yeah, and there is another random guy that she marries who also loves her (or possibly just her goat; I got the creeps from this one).  Sorry, it is hard to keep track of her large male harem.  Whereas I haven't been asked out for like a year.  Life isn't fair.

Wow, Disney did not prepare me for that.  For one thing, Quasimodo is not a lovable, but hideous  guy.  He is actually deaf from all the bell ringing and is extremely violent.  La Esmeralda is incredibly selfish and Phoebus is cowardly and cruel.  And where the hell was Jason Alexander??

Seriously, though, I loved this book. The entire story is fascinating and, even at times, hilarious.  Frollo's brother in particular provided much needed comic relief.  Hugo's descriptions were excellent; I felt as though I was present for a lot of scenes.  Of course, I am cheating a bit since I have been to Notre Dame but Hugo still provided a stunning image that I am sure would make an impression on anyone.

Wow, I have been rambling for quite awhile now. I guess I will wrap it up with a well deserved five star rating.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Influenced Balzac, Flaubert, and Dickens.

Introduced the concept of Epic Theatre.

The unself-centered version of Esmeralda, singing a beautiful ballad:
UP NEXT: Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac.  I may be delayed again in writing this review since I agreed to read War and Peace with my sister. DAH DAH DAH!


  1. Hi! I saw your blog on the 1001 group at Goodreads.

    I read this novel last summer and, while I wasn't expecting the Disney version, I wasn't prepared for the ending, either. So sad.

    1. Hey thanks for stopping by!

      Yeah I didn't really expect the Disney version either though I did think Phoebus would be more of a hero than he was.