Vote for favorite book

September 20, 2018

Earlier this summer, I wrote about The Great American Read hosted by PBS.

If you still aren’t aware of this wonderful nationwide literary event, please visit www.pbs.org to learn more about it and to vote, because it’s not too late to join in the reading fun.

You may recall that I promised that I’d be voting every day for my favorite novel, “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. I can assure you that I haven’t missed a single day of voting since May. I plan to keep voting for this novel every day until the final day of voting on Oct. 17, 2018.

So, the question becomes: Why do I like this novel so much? Whenever anyone asks me what my favorite book is, I always answer, “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

I usually add a litany of other great novels as well, but this book is, and has been for a very long time, my favorite. If you take into account that my all-time favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption,” maybe you’ll begin to see what it is about this story that makes me love it so much.

I am most deeply affected, offended and even angered by the way that some people in our world will go to such vile lengths to promote themselves that they willfully and intentionally cause serious harm to innocent people.

When an injured person somehow manages to extricate himself from a seemingly impossible situation and then rise above that, my heart soars. I love nothing more than to see an underdog come out on top or to see someone rise far above the station imposed upon her by her birth or other arbitrary uncontrollable factor.

Edmond Dantes, the protagonist of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” is that person. At the start of the novel, he’s completely innocent — young, in love, on the cusp of receiving a well-deserved promotion to captain of a boat, and utterly naïve to the evil machinations that inhabit some people’s minds.

Because of his naiveté and because of the jealousy and selfishness of others, Dantes ends up imprisoned in the worst prison imaginable, the Chateau d’If, on a rocky isle off the coast of France. He’s left there to spend the rest of his life in total isolation, and those who love him are never told where he is.

Fourteen years pass. Fourteen years of complete isolation in the early 1800s. A person would go crazy locked away alone that long not knowing even the reason for his imprisonment. Dantes almost did and was on the verge of dying, but he had a savior, an older abbe who was also locked away for political reasons. This abbe, while attempting to dig out of the inescapable prison, unintentionally breaks into Dantes room.

Thus begins the friendship that ultimately saves Dantes’ mind, his spirit, and even his body from the horrible confines of both his physical and mental prisons. When he escapes, I exult.

In “The Shawshank Redemption” we are only left with a snippet of Andy Dufresne’s life as a free man, but in “The Count of Monte Cristo” we get a full account of the things he does to right the wrongs done to him. I will save those for next month, so if you’re one of the many who still haven’t read my favorite book, please read it and vote for it.

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Contact Marshall at tamreader@gmail.com.

Next month’s reading selection is the second half of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.

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