Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Les Miserables (Stepping Stones)

Amanda (age 10) read Les Miserables (A Stepping Stone Book) (against her will!). I would say that this version was oversimplified and could be read by a much younger child (maybe eight on up).

Since she was under duress, the prosecution was able to feed her questions for the purpose of the deposition. I asked her some of the questions from the preview post, but quickly realized that having her tell me her thoughts on some of the characters would be the best approach to seeing what she might have learned from the book:

I didn't like Javert because he was evil. (Why do you think he made the choices he made?) For a reward or something? (Do you think you think he was happy?) No, because he was turning in someone who saved his life.

Jean Valjean:

He did a lot of really good stuff. He got sent to jail for a really long time for just stealing a piece of bread, which doesn't make sense. Five years for a piece of bread and a bunch more for trying to escape???

(What happened after he got out of prison?) He changed his name and he tried to steal something from another person who gave it to him. Then he became a better person.

(How did that help him become a better person?) He knew that person was so good to him so he wanted to be good to other people, just like that person.
Then I asked her what the story was about:

It was about a guy named Jean Valjean. He lived in France.
Did you learn anything from this book? No.
Did it make you think any deep thoughts? No.
Do books ever make you think deep thoughts? Yes -- ones that are complicated, but this one was very uncomplicated because it was cut down to almost nothing.

Classics Bookclub

Check out 5 Minutes for Books for some more willing participants in the Les Miserables edition of the Classics Bookclub. You can read my review of my re-read of this classic at the main post as well.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Congratulations, Amanda, for sticking this out! Maybe one day you'll go back and read this one and enjoy it. : )

Carrie said...

=D Amanda, I LOVE it when you review the books that you've read! It's awesome! I never would have read the Stepping Stone book and it was really cool to get your perspective on it. Even though you were forced. But still. I hope you'll read and review some more! You have a unique perspective!

Bluestocking said...

Finishing Les Mis is an accomplishment.


Leya said...

Amanda, good for you! :D I tried and gave up...

I applaud you!

morninglight mama said...

Good for you for giving it a shot-- I think that my feelings about many books, this one included, have evolved as I've gotten older, so maybe you'll have a different perspective if you read it again in the future!

ibeeeg said...

I applaud you for reading this story! My 9yod is going to listen to an audio production of Les Miserables.

Kipi said...

Wow, Amanda! I'm impressed that you even tried to read it, and you finished it! My daughter is 11, and she loves the music from the Broadway play, but she's never read the book. Maybe I should get this one for her so she can learn about the story.

Nise' said...

Yeah Amanda! Way to go.