With apologies for posting late and for making this such a short post, Madame L returns to look at "The Count of Monte Cristo" again.
Madame L is very glad she (finally) read this book, which has been recommended to her by so many people over the years. She used to think it would be a good read only for boys because of the action-adventure-filled plot; and she was sure she wouldn't like it because it's essentially a revenge story.
And Madame L isn't going to recap the plot here, because You, Dear Readers, can find that online with a click of the mouse. Also, Madame L doesn't think we --- even boys who love action-adventure stories --- read only for an exciting plot.
We read to learn about how people act and why. And so we learn in this amazing story why Edmond Dantes goes after revenge even after the kindly priest who saves him from the prison of his despair admonishes him not to; but we also learn why the evil characters who plotted Edmond's downfall did what they did.
And --- here's the brilliant part --- we learn why the kindly priest gave Edmond that advice. We see that even when he thinks he is rewarding the good people in his life for their kindness, he doesn't get it quite right.
We see how the revenge hurts more than the people it's intended for. We see that those people were already suffering for their sins and would have suffered as a consequence of their behavior even without his intervention.
And we see that Edmond himself suffers and his soul is wounded as he takes revenge, making him not much better than those evil people.
Finally, we see that Edmond finds happiness in love and kindness, and God himself redeems him, as He does all of us, not because of our goodness or in spite of our badness but because God, who is perfect, loves us all, good and bad, and lets His sun, and His Son, shine on the unrighteous as well as the righteous.
Does Madame L recommend this book to her Dear Readers? Yes, indeed, she does.
Madame L will be considering other aspects of the book, at least one of the movies based on it, and at least one other book inspired by it.
Please, Dear Readers, write Madame L with your own comments about this and any other book you'd like to discuss.