Tuesday, January 31, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #4 Around the World in 80 Days

It all started innocently enough...I was catching up on my Pierce Brosnan. How does one do that you ask? Watch all his Bond movies, think about watching Thornbirds (then realize that's Richard Chamberlain, not Pierce), move on to a season of "Remington Steele", then dig deep, finding old gems like "The Lawnmower Man" and watch the whole mini-series "Around the World in 80 Days". And, if you're like me, this will prompt you to read the book as you've never read the book before and you've put it down as part of your Classics Challenge and will feel compelled to start it immediately.

This book is a delightfully easy read written during one of Verne's and France's low-points, but accents, what I'm sure many believe, the highest point of the British Empire. I am positive that if you read this book and "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell (an essay about the shooting of an elephant in India, written about 60 years later) you will have a perfect picture of British Imperalism and a well rounded idea of the British Empire.  If Orwell's is the Modern, not so positive aspects than Verne's is the Victorian, idealized version. Phileas Fogg can do no wrong. He is punctual, precise and phelgmatic. He fires his valet for the tiniest of errors and can be counted on to do exactly what he as always done. When one of the members of his prestigious gentlemen's club says he can't possible make it around the world in 80 days, he calmly says he can and will. Betting £20,000 (half of his whole worth) he leaves that night with the French valet he has just hired. 

The best part of the book is reading Fogg's conversion from a stodgy and eccentric man to a man that has gained love and true friendship; even if he does keep all of his Britishness--not that this is in any way a bad thing.

Some things that are in the book that aren't in the movies and visa versa:

1. An extra girl (in the mini-series, at least) who never appears in the book.

2. I've always seen and thought of Passepartout of being the comic relief falling over himself and others and getting into trouble. In the book it seems like he helps Fogg as much as he hinders, and actually does a lot more good than I thought originally.

3. And, the biggest one...There isn't a hot air balloon in the book, don't get too excited about that. There are steam engines and boats and carriages, but no hot air balloons. Yeah, I was fooled by every...cover...I've...ever seen...ever.

Anyway, read the book and imagine Pierce Brosnan, you'll have a grand time.

4 Stars   

1 comment:

  1. This is the second review I've read for this book in the challenge, and I know I need to read this soon. Also, really no hot air balloons? That was the entire cover of my abridged children's version when I was younger!



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