I know. I know. One star?? A swashbuckling adventure novel beloved for a couple of centuries? Yeah, well.
I've tried to read this before. It had "me" written all over it: aforementioned buckling of swashes, romance and derring-do and so forth. But I never penetrated very far. There was a tone – perhaps to the particular translation I tried, perhaps to the work itself – that just put me off, exemplified by the instance of D'Artagnan selling the yellow horse after his father impressed upon him how he must never do so, and he promised faithfully that he would not. It was such a dishonorable, dishonest, ugly thing to do, in a book I had expected to be dripping with honor – and it was just the beginning.
Last year I finally went with the audiobook, on the theory that classics that have not held a huge amount of interest for me go down better read aloud. I hold the reader, John Lee, responsible for my being able to finish it with as much tolerance as I did; if I’d been just reading words on a page I think it would have ended up in the trash by page 200. I hated this. I truly, deeply hated this. I’ve seen at least a couple of movie versions; I’ve enjoyed them, somewhat, as frothy swashbucklers, of course. I always expected the book to be better, though.
One of my two Goodreads comments on the book was:
"These people are all horrible - honorless, slutty morons. And this is a classic, beloved by schoolboys for - what, over 200 years? God help us."
And that’s my biggest problem with the book. Perhaps it was supposed to be ironic, some kind of commentary on honor and courage and standards and morality through the depiction of noble swordsmen who were actually men you wouldn’t trust alone with a coin or a woman. I don’t remember ever coming across that take on it, though.
Athos, Porthos, Aramis, D'Artagnan. These are the heroes I wanted to read about. The brave and loyal soldiers, the champions of right and defenders of womanhood and of France … I have no idea where my ideas came from – the movies, perhaps? What I found as I listened to the book was that Athos was a hypocritical prig, Aramis was a hypocritical pseudo-religious, Porthos was a gluttonous gambling dandy, and D'Artagnan a cocky young jackass. They were all four drunkards, given any opportunity; they were all womanizers, cuckolding widely and wildly, dropping whatever girl they had been bedding to move on without a pause or juggling as many as possible simultaneously. And the much-vaunted all-for-one loyalty? I didn't see it. Every single one of them was as likely to throw his buddies under the 18th century equivalent of a bus as to support them, or to leave them in assorted lurches. Then get a good laugh out of it. And the interactions between these four and the man-servants they could barely afford but NEEDED made The Comedy of Errors seem like a shining illustration of workplace harmony. It was depressing.
D'Artagnan in particular was a letdown. The whole situation of swiving the maid in the room adjacent to her mistress, and vice versa – I wanted to throttle him. A lot. For one thing – seriously? They've let prepubescent boys read this for centuries? Oh, that’s just awesome. So, buckling of swashes, romance and derring-do and so forth? The swashes were askew at best; the romance was not the way Anne Shirley defines it (nor me), the doing wasn’t so derring. I only made it through the whole thing because it was an audiobook with a good narrator, and because I gritted my teeth in determination to see it all the way through. It was a deep disappointment, and I hated it.
My other Goodreads comment:
“Chapter 67: Conclusion
Oh, thank God.”
This is a captivating rendition, well paced and clearly delivered. Definitely a best-in-class performance. I highly recommend this.
After seeing so many movies based on the book I decided to read the book. Boy was I shocked when I read it! Where is half the garbage you see in all Hollywood movies? Why wasn't the truth in them? Here we get the whole unadulterated facts of the story and it’s well worth the time. In the end I thought I was reading a parody book, but I also learned in the end it was well worth the read.
The original BFFs
D'Artagnan is heartbroken when his lady love dies. The Musketeers, D'Artagnan, and the Count D'Winter go after the murderer of D'Artagnan's mistress. At that point Athos reveals the Countess D'Winter as his wife. D'Artagnan had already known, but the other Musketeers did not.
Persistence. A book of this length, despite how busy it is can be a bit daunting when you work for a living. By listening while driving my long daily commutes I managed to listen in 2 days. It was wonderful.
Many moments in this book made me chuckle. A few moments made me groan in sympathy or exasperation. I can't say it exactly moved me the way one classically think of being moved. This book is not really meant to draw out an emotional outpouring.
If you enjoyed the movies but have never taken time to read this book, I highly recommend this experience. The listen is every bit a good.... better than the movies. You see it all, because some of course you've seen before. The rest is easy to imagine, Dumas is an artist that way.
The friendship for the main character.
This was my first but I really enjoyed the performance.
I love Dumas, because in his stories, almost all of his characters, even "the good guys", are generally not very nice people. They all tread in that grey area between good and evil.
The the main protagonist d'Artangnan. You instantly fall in love with him when you witness his first encounter with the musketeers in which he shows true bravery, willing to risk his life against three opponents, each of which he knew could dispatch him individually. But it doesn't take long to realize that he is not truly a hero, but holds many qualities that could almost be considered villainous. In fact he is a liar, a classist, sexist, murdering, thieving, adulterer. Needless to say he is a deep and complicated character, and is the entire story which is a much read.
The Narrator! he brought each and every character to life, especially the women, half the time I would forget it was a man reading a female character.
If I had to choose, I would say it was Milady de Winter, her intelligence and cunning bested everyone in the end.
I have not, but I plan to in the near future
The moment D'Artangnan had found Madame Bonacieux only to lose her so tragically.
I can't wait to read the rest of the series.
Happily married father of 4 with 3 of the meanest Grandchildren in the US :) I am a paving Forman for a large construction company Alabama.
I Can't believe I've went 48 years and haven't read this book.
There were parts in this book that I wanted to skip because the story had me so mad. Am so glad I didn't.
From the start it grabbed me and would not turn loose. I usually listen riding to work and when I cut grass, I even cut my neighbors yard so I could get another 2 hours of book time. I would give 2 credits for just another 2 hours.
Wow just Wow.
Mother of 2 teens, alternate between reading for educational enrichment and pure pleasure. Like to run, bike, hike, and dance.
when they all meet and find out that they all had a run in with Dartainel sp.
yes because it was a 'classic' but i didn't enjoy it.
Great story with many interesting characters and twists.
Nothing I have read to date.
I loved this book.