At the end of the school year I made an unofficial summer bucket list for myself. First and foremost was a trip to New Hampshire to visit Brett which I was able to check off in July. Next was walking an average of five miles a day. I am proud to say that I was able to check that off too with the help of my trusty FitBit. Third was taking Cam and Meg to Saugatuck, Michigan to visit all of our favorite sites. They enjoyed it as much as Doug and I always have. Fourth was Cal's IU orientation which we completed successfully and even added Taste of Bloomington to the mix.
The final item on my summer bucket list was the one that was most daunting for me. When I decided to add it I wasn't sure that I would be able to check it off. I am proud to say, however, that late Saturday night I could put down Victor Hugo's 1200 page novel, Les Miserables, and say I finished it. It definitely took up a good portion of my free time in July, but it was so worth it. Brett had bought me the book as a birthday present after we saw the movie together several years ago. I had always wanted to read it, but knew if I didn't make it a priority I never would. The movie was well done and I enjoyed it immensely. I hoped I would feel the same about the novel. I know he originally talked me into going to the movie because Russell Crowe was in it, but once the story started I was hooked.
I am glad to say that I felt the same way about the book. I would pick it up at night and have a hard time putting it down. After Cal left for work at 6:45 a.m. I would read at least an hour before Cam would be up for the day. There was so much joy and sadness entangled with the history of France in the early 1800s being told that I just wanted more. Several of the characters were different than I envisioned them from watching the movie - some more likable, some less. There were songs, but not the ones I knew by heart. Instead they were ones popular of the street urchins of the day. Hugo even made a 100 pages about the history of the Paris sewer fascinating.
The best part of reading this novel, however, wasn't the actual story. Even though I loved it and could have read many more pages about Marius and Cosette's life together, what I enjoyed most was calling Brett and discussing the book with him. He knew the history of the time period, the story of Hugo's life and the reasons for changing the characters of the novel for the big screen. I enjoyed listening to his thoughts and couldn't wait to get to the next chapter to see what he had to say about it.
I finished Les Miserables just in time as the 2016 school year starts for me this week, and with that summer vacation has officially ended. I have decided not to be sad to see it go. It wouldn't be fair to the memories our family created and the fun I had checking off my summer bucket list.