My Harry Potter fan teenage daughter decided tackling all the books in that series wasn’t enough of a feat. It was time to move on to an even greater challenge.
Looking for a good book, she chose one involving a love story with a historical element, action, and adventure.
Which classic did she choose?
The complete and unabridged version of Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo.
There’s a reason it’s called “The Brick.” There’s a wall down our street that has a huge hole knocked through it from being hit in a car accident. Copies of this ginormous book could literally be stacked up to fix that wall.
Despite so great a challenge, I had confidence in this book-loving girl that if she set her mind to it, the book might be finished in a few months or before the end of this summer.
Turns out, my daughter is a speed reader. What would have taken me a year, she read in three weeks. Three weeks!
And, that is not what I am most proud of her about. The thing that makes my own book-loving heart soar is that she LOVES it! The book she read was on loan from the library. She wants to purchase “The Brick” to place on her own personal bookshelf. She’s saving up all her money to purchase her very own copy.
Not only did this challenge build patience (listed as one of the top 20 longest books!), but it also increased her vocabulary. Throughout the three weeks of reading, she stopped me on more than one occasion asking for the definition of words. At least half the time, I didn’t know the answer and told her to look them up.
Holding up a book of that size also builds muscle!
A few times I heard her giggling while reading. Victor Hugo’s sense of humor must be timeless. And the love story has been made into a beloved musical and several movies, the most recent of which has become a family favorite soundtrack to sing on long trips. My husband does a great impression of Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean!
I’d like to challenge teens around the world to take up “The Brick” and read! Find an unabridged version of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo at the library, online, at a used, small, or mega bookstore and crack that baby open. Try to refrain from reading it on an e-reader. Have the real thing, in all it’s glory, in your hands. Let’s call it #TheBrickChallenge
What are you waiting for? Go for it!
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