Book review: The Hunchback of the Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)

Title: The Hunchback of the Notre Dame
Author: Victor Hugo
Page count: 565 (hardcover, special edition from a Dutch newspaper)
Rating: 4/5 stars on Goodreads 

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*this review is not spoilerfree, as the book has been out for like, 2 centuries.

So guess who finished this book last night at 2.30 am! I`m so tired.

Well, this book was an Adventure with capital A. I had already heard the original book is much more messed up than the Disney movie (as you would expect, because, Disney), but I didn`t quite expect it to be like this.

I loved how the characters were so complex, showing all these different sides of them.  For example, I loved how Frollo used to be very empathetic, and cared so much for his little brother. I loved his depiction as a kind of obsessive person, who doesn`t know where and when to stop and keeps pushing. It made him successful, while also being his downfall.

I didn`t like Esmeralda as much though, I prefer the Disney version of her. The book version seems to spend 99% of her time pining after captain Phoebus, who is, I should add, a complete asshole. Like wow, what a dick.

Considering the English title and the Disney adaptation, I also expected more of the story to be about Quasimodo, and I would`ve loved to see more of him. Instead, this story is mostly about Frollo, Esmeralda, and the poet Gringoire.

Also a big thanks to mr. Hugo for giving everyone a massive lesson in Parisian history and architecture I didn`t want. I skipped parts. I understand that the book was written out of frustration in the negligence of the old Gothic buildings in Paris, but at a very dramatic point where people are trying to survive very traumatic experiences, the last thing I need is a several-chapter-long explanation of how good architecture is lost.

Still, this story was dark and terrible and heartwrenching. I love it. It`s definitely re-read material for a time when I`m not trying to get it finished in a week`s time. And maybe when I`ve found an English version instead of a Dutch one that makes it sound like half of the characters are actually children. (This book was a constant reminder of why I don`t like reading in Dutch – so much gets infantilised, sentences get chopped up and sound off, and just the entire use of language really annoys me every time again.)

Next up, and the final book for #booktober: Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. Finally some (hopefully) lighter reading! I can do with happier reading after all the literature drama.

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One Response to Book review: The Hunchback of the Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)

  1. Pingback: Why you shouldn’t be intimidated by classics | Charlotte Blogs

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