I first ran into The Count of Monte Cristo in movie form, when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. I was living in the Philippines, my parents were out of town, and a typhoon was blowing in. As I was watching, the protagonist, Edmond, had just gotten out of prison when the power went out, and when the power went out in the Philippines, it might not turn back on for day or even weeks. I was so caught up in the story that I went outside in the middle of the typhoon and started our generator so that I could keep watching the movie.
A few years later, I was concluding my second senior year of high school (I was a particularly motivated student) and borrowed the book from the library. It took me at least a month to finish, maybe two. Reading the book wasn’t a pivotal experience and I didn’t enjoy the book the way I enjoyed the movie.
Then six or seven years later, after I’d finished my English degree and written my first book, I got the audiobook for The Count of Monte Cristo. This second time through, I realized that the book is brilliant. It was still a journey to get through—389,180 words or 1,276 pages—but I listened to it in back-to-back years. Each time I listened, I understood more and appreciated it in deeper ways. While I still like the movie, I now see it as less than a shadow of the book.
My two favorite elements to the book are its plot and its wit: Continue reading “2. The Count of Monte Cristo”