In high school, I fell in love with musicals, and my absolute favorite was Phantom of the Opera. Summer of my Junior year we visited New York City and I had the chance to see a musical on Broadway, but Phantom was sold out, so we went to see Les Miserables. Now I had a new obsession, and of course, that meant I read the book. In case you don’t know Victor Hugo was paid for length of book, so it’s a long book. It is a point of pride that I read the unabridged book in high school. Fast forward a few years, and I chose to let my kids read the abridged Les Miserables for our book and a movie last year after studying yet another French Revolution. The abridged version was still over 800 pages.
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Why read Les Miserables?
When I was first looking at assigning Les Miserables and realizing just how long it was, a friend of mine asked why it was even worth assigning?
I took a great big deep breath and said, “Well, it is an amazing story of grace and redemption, and learning the difference between grace and love, and so many things.” I might have started babbling.
I love Les Miserables. I love the story of redemption.
I love the story of how Jean Valjean went from a man full of hate for the human race to a man who was redeemed but didn’t fully understand that redemption, so he lived by legalism. Finally, he learned what grace truly was.
It’s an amazing story of how the Christian life should be truly lived, also I love the bishop from the start of the story. I love to picture him running around in the night secretly helping people.
Les Miserables Book Club
We used the 7Sisters Les Miserables Discussion Guide, and it uses a different abridged copy than I bought, BUT we were still able to use it.
I think their copy was actually about half the size, and there were some things removed from their version that I wish weren’t removed from it.
Like the bishop, there were scenes for the bishop that were removed, like an entire chapter of who the bishop was.
That makes me sad.
But, the guide did just what I hoped it would do, it triggered amazing discussions.
Les Miserables recipes
Almost all of our books for this year have been from France, and I decided to just cook some true French food to go with Les Miserables.
Here are the recipes I picked:
- French Onion Soup
- Cheesy Croissant Casserole
- Orange blossom honey madelines
- French Onion chicken
- Another madelines recipe
This is what I’ve found with my quick google search I’m doing a week before. We’ll see what I end up actually cooking a week later. I also must be starving because all of these look amazing.
Les Miserables book club snacks
I spent the entire day before we watched the movie cooking. In the end, we had SO much food, but we ate well that night. We watched the movie version of the musical with Hugh Jackman.
I had so many main dishes that were these amazing recipes, I actually should remake some of these, because they truly were good.
- Javert- french onion soup, he has a bit of a tang to him
- Eponine- cheesy croissant casserole, because her storyline was so cheesy
- Mounsier Madeleine- madelines, I mean obviously
- Marius- gougeres, a cheesy bread
- Thernadier- circus animals, because he felt a bit like a circus player
- Cosette- macaroons, because she’s so sweet
- French wine- the sodas my kids like
- coins- coconut cookies, these are amazing
- loaf of bread- the events that started it all off, it really should have been bread, but we wanted something else sweet and used some kind of thing whose name is completely slipping my mind