Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book review for Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

          Deep in the cellars of the Paris Opera House lives a creature- not quite human and not quite monster. He’s lived there for years, always occupied Box Five at each performance, and as of recently, has been the famous Christine Daae’s Angel of Music. He is nearly obsessed with his love for her, but his face, his morbid morals, and her love for another man keeps her from loving him back. This classic has mystified millions for a whole century now, as the memory of the Phantom lives and breathes still.
            Well. I truly don’t know what to say. I liked this book. That’s it. I always have a hard time reviewing classics. I don’t have to convince you they’re good- everyone already knows that. That’s why they’re called classics. J Anyways, there were a couple things in this book that really stood out to me that I want to share with you and let you ponder. 1) The Phantom’s consummation with looks. He constantly doubted Christine’s “love” for him because he felt he didn’t measure up to the standard that he had to meet to be loved. Also, he felt he had to do something else to make people love him (thus his love for trapdoors and hidden passages and whatnot). He was just in need of love. I really ached for him in one respect. That brings me to another point: His selfishness. I loathed how he was so quick to kill anything that stood in his way. I think this might have been because he was bitter towards the world. Maybe because they laughed at his existence and genius or because he knew they would have condemned him for his grotesque looks. His obsession with his outside (his looks) made his heart grow wildly with weeds of corruptness and evil. He was selfish in one way, but needy in another. Have I confused you yet??? J
            Another thing I noticed was that Christine obviously didn’t feel love for the Phantom, but something else. Pity. She was so kind-hearted, and she saw his need for love, but couldn’t possibly fulfill it, and knew that because of the condition of his heart, no one ever would. Also, I noticed that yes, the Phantom wanted to be loved, but not necessarily by Christine. He was almost eager to kill her along with himself and the rest of the population of Paris when she down right refused to be his wife. It could have very well been from insanity, but I have a feeling it wasn’t. I think the Phantom was in his right mind the whole time. Don’t laugh- it’s my opinion. I love how Mr. Leroux never really said- he let a lot of things just rest at the end of the book. It gave the book that mysterious air, and gave you the choice of believing what you wanted to believe. Was the Phantom real? Was he insane? Did he really have a head of fire and a skeleton body? Who knows? Maybe not even Mr. Leroux.
             One thing you may not have known is that The Phantom of the Opera turns 100 this year. Appropriate time to read it, no? J It wasn’t hard to read or get through like some classics are- it propelled you to the end and made you hunger for more.  One thing I do suggest, though, is not to watch the movie first. It. Will. Ruin. It. I did, and I ended up liking the movie better than the book (although the book is still good!). I mean, who wouldn’t like a Gerard Butler phantom better than an ugly, deformed one? J But DO watch the movie AFTER you finish the book. It’s amazing and the music is beautiful. I’ll conclude with a quote from pages 173-174: Christine- “Are people always so unhappy when they love?” Raoul-“Yes, Christine, when they love and are not sure of being loved.”

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