Public Library What a great turnout for our first book discussion after the summer break! The club members chose a challenging classic book, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas to read over the summer. This book was published as an 18 part serial in France from 1844-1845. Even though we had 3 months to read it, it was difficult to finish unless you happened to sign out the abridged version. This is the story of a man who dedicates himself to revenge. Dantes, a young sailor, has just been promoted to captain of the ship Pharaon, and is to marry fiancée Mercédès, when he is arrested hours before the wedding. He is falsely accused, but is sentenced to life imprisonment by the actions of four men. In prison, Dantes becomes friends with another inmate who educates him and tells him where to find a great treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. After 13 years in prison, his friend dies and Dantes escapes by taking his place in the burial sack. He retrieves the treasure, and with his new fortune conceals his return with several new identities, including the Count of Monte Cristo. He integrates himself back into society and into the lives of the men who sent him to prison. With years of planning, he systematically takes revenge on those men. Dantes never does resume his relationship with his once fiancée Mercédès and she unfortunately becomes an unintended victim of his revenge.
Besides the length, this book is a difficult read due to the large number of characters, many whose names change, their complicated relationships and all the twists and turns of the plot. On Wikipedia there is a great character relationships chart to help keep them all straight. The detail and planning that Dantes puts into his revenge is quite impressive. Some of it is pretty far-fetched and there are many coincidences that help Dantes’ plans. One conversation the book group had, was about Dantes dedicating so much of his life to revenge. His plans took over 10 years of his life, and they could not have been happy years with all the anger that he held. If he had let it go, he had a fortune with which to create his own happiness.
The Chestermere Public Library’s book club is a relaxed group of readers who meet on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00pm to discuss the current book selection. The only requirement is that you have a Library membership. The book is available to check out from the Library about month before the meeting, and will usually include a discussion guide. This guide is a list of questions for the group to discuss during our meeting, and it’s helpful to read them over a few times before and while you are reading the book. Book suggestions are always welcome!
The next meeting is on October 17 at 7:00pm to discuss “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” by Susannah Cahalan. This is a memoir of a 26 year old woman who struggles with a swift and devastating brain disease. Pick up the book at the Library and come join us! You can also participate through our Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CPLNovelbookclub/