Les Mis. Why all the fuss? Well, for me, I fell in love with it slowly. In pieces. And very skeptically.
My first exposure to it was in a church library. I was semi-responsible for processing books, checking them back in and shelving them, and sometimes making the very difficult decision of whether or not a book was clean enough to remain on the shelves. (Big mistake. Give only one person that authority or let all the books stay. But moving on.) I glanced at the back cover, saw the word prostitution or something similar, and immediately proceeded in having a small heart attack. I made a few appeals and then threw the book away.
Fast forward a few years and a woman named Susan Boyle makes internet history by singing a beautiful rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream." I loved the song, but knew it was from Les Mis which I still hadn't really looked into so I was like whatever.
A few years after that, I learned a friend of mine loved the book and highly recommended it. Well, you know how much I HATE books and reading. I had it in my hands the next day.
The book is 1,500 pages long or something. The unabridged version has many French passages that I could mostly translate but still had to look up on occasion. There are long chapters that get dry, then drier than dry. I was reading a LONG time, but it was shortly into my married life and it was nice to keep my brain occupied during long, lonely days.
When I finished it, I bawled every single tear out of my eyes. The story of redemption is made only more beautiful by the complex and interwoven characters - their passions, their sorrows, their joys. I immediately emailed my friend and told her how much I loved it.
But I knew there was a musical some guys came up with based on the book. I knew I already loved "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Bring Him Home." I wasn't surprised to discover MANY new favorites after listening to the musical on CD. I enjoyed two different DVDs of live performances and dreamed of watching a live production whenever it came through Chicago.
Well, last night a friend treated me to an absolutely amazing performance of Les Misérables at the beautiful Paramount Theater.
We both refrained from singing along even though we have almost all of it memorized, and thoroughly enjoyed fangirling during the intermission. And of course we got matching mugs after the show!
Thank you, Mrs. H., for the wonderful night out, and for recommending Les Mis to me in the first place. ;)