Friday, May 8, 2009

All Around the World

You all have my sincerest apologies for the late post this month. Our computer went down on Monday and I didn't get it back until today. Thank you so much to those of you who emailed me. I very much appreciate that you cared about my well being. We are fine, we just weren't able to use the computer. So now that you've waited long enough... here is my short thoughts on Around the World in 80 Days.

Whoa, did Disney take liberties! This book was much different than the movie I've seen, which was my only experience with this story yet.

I did think that it was a fun, fast moving story though. I was a little worried before I started the book, because I've read Journey to the Center of the Earth; and while my son and I found it to be a fun story, it was very long, and full of very big words, and parts of it really dragged on. This one was much easier to read.

I was very intrigued by Phineas Fogg's personality. I admired Fogg's calm and forgiveness throughout the trip. I really admired and was thankful for his bravery and humanity, in reference to Aouda and Passpartout, when they needed rescuing.
It made me incredibly upset at how Disney made him such a scatter brained proffesor/scientist. They took all of the chivilry and good character lessons out of the story.

I loved that Aouda was able to see past his sometimes cold-ish properness, and that they were able to get their "happily ever after"- ending up together.

I found the story easy to read. I found it to pace at the same speed as the story. It moved very quickly, just like their whirl-wind trip. The only time I felt the story dragged was for a short time when they were on the train, in America. And even then, that is the part in their trip that seemed slow to them.

I was surprised, and impressed, when Ogden, was mentioned and given credit as being huge for the railroad. (For those of you who don't know I live quite near Ogden, in Utah.) As well, when I saw there would be a chapter on Mormons, I was curious and nervous; both of which turned out to be warranted. I was pleasantly surprised in the parts that were right. (History of the LDS church migration etc.) and a little bummed out, but not at all surprised by the mistakes. (The words the missionary preached etc.)

I also liked/appreciated how it was all real modes of transportation during that time period. (Unlike some movies I've seen, and one of Jules Verne's other novels, Journey to the Center of the Earth, which is a bit far fetched for me.) I came out of it thinking that his trip really was possible. Which even with todays faster modes of transportation seems like quote a feat.

Poor Mr. Fix. I never did like him though. I realize that he thought he was doing his job, and even apologized at the end of the story. But because I knew that Fogg was innocent, I never could like him. Especially when he pulled a couple of things on Passepartout. (Like the getting him drunk and drugging him escapade.)

I hope that you all enjoyed this lighter classic as well, this last month. And I can't wait to read your interpretations.

*hugs to you all*


Mrs. Mordecai said...

I was also surprised at what an easy read this book was. It's been a long time since I've read a light adventure story like this and I enjoyed it.

I thought all the references to Frenchmen and France being superior were somewhat amusing, especially given that the author is French. I think he must have really liked writing Passepartout.

I was also surprised to find the chapter on Utah and Mormons, although I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since the two railroads did meet in Utah. I wasn't very impressed by the missionary on the train either, but I did think the guy running away from his wife was kind of funny.

Fogg was a very interesting character. Although somewhat predictable by the end, I think that regularity is the whole basis of his personality, so that wasn't a bad thing. I wonder if there really is such a person in the world who could remain so calm under such circumstances. Although I admire that, I don't understand why he would bet so much money for no reason. It just seems silly to me.

Fogg and Aouda ending up together was kind of odd to me. I just can't see him married, and certainly not from such an unconventional sort of acquaintance.

Oh, and the surprise at the end where they had gained a day: wow! It was so great to see that he had made it after all when I thought that he had lost. I really wanted him to win.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'm glad we picked it. I bought it over ten years ago and it's been sitting unread on my bookshelf until now. It's good to know that I like it.

Sharon in KY said...

I'm probably the only one who found Around the World in 80 Days a difficult book to get through. I was very distracted by the total unbelievability of the character Phileas Fogg! Verne's story was grounded in the real world of 1872 but Fogg was so unreal.

I live with and have worked with people who tend toward extremely regimented schedules and they are NOT flexible people. They could NEVER just up and take an unpredictable trip around the world and the deadline would totally unnerve them. This was such a giant inconsistency for me that I could not admire any good quality in Fogg because he was a cardboard character.

I did try to accept that such a person could exist. Then I was in total agreement with Sir Francis who "only saw in the wager a useless eccentricity and a lack of common-sense." And next I wondered, how could Fogg be so good and not be a person of any professed faith?

Finally, in Chapter 26, I realized I was as "fixed" on Fogg in a negative way as Detective Fix. So, I guess I accepted all of the characters as very undeveloped and tried to enjoy the setting as the main "character" of the story. At this point my teacher-brain got a bit excited and I could imagine using this book as a guide for a history study.

I'm glad I've read it but I doubt I'll pursue it as a history study with either of the children and I wasn't impressed with it as a piece of literature.

Anonymous said...

I had read this book many years ago, and I remember enjoying it very much. The fast pace went along with my energetic and busy youth then, but the details didn't stick with me because they did not, for the most part, interest me then.
Reading it a second time was difficult; it is an easy reading, but the simple and predictable plot did not catch me again, but the details were interesting. I found the post civil war litigation between the USA and Britain over the damages caused to the Union by the CSS Alabama very amusing; also, the macabre rituals of the Brahmins called my attention: I knew through other sources of its existence, I just did not know it in detail. The mormons history was interesting also.
Over all, it was a good book, just not a good timing for me. Right now, I am wanting something deeper, and it was a huge lack by default, having just read "Uncle Tom's Cabin".

Anonymous said...

The anonymus is me, Magali!