Book Review: Phantom of the Opera

I have made it a goal to read more classics, both to be more well-rounded and so that I can say I’ve read them. One of the classics I read this summer was Phantom of the Opera.

Before I begin, I will say that this is not the most professional book review. I know what I like to read, and my “review” of a given book will be based on my reading preferences. Therefore, just because I liked a book does not mean it is “good,” neither is a book necessarily “bad” if I disliked it.

That being said, I did initially find POTO a little difficult to read, since it was written over a century ago, making the language style different from what I’m used to. It was not a mindless, easy read for me in the beginning; I had to engage with the text to understand what was going on. Perhaps another reason for this was that the first few chapters read more like a report than a story. After I was several chapters in, however, the author introduced more dialogue and action, which helped to make it more interesting.

Now for the plot. As I’m sure many people know the story already, I will not bore the reader with the details of the narrative. I had already seen the movie (starring Gerard Butler), which made the story easier to follow, since I had an idea of what to expect. Of course the details in the book were different from those of the movie, but the extra scenes and descriptions added a richness to the text that the movie simply does not have. Included in these extras would be the elaborate tunnels and passageways through the opera house (which we only get a glimpse of in the movie), Christine visiting the graveyard, the torture chamber, and the Phantom’s magic tricks. The details and descriptions in the text add a depth that could not possibly be addressed in the movie, yet give the reader a better understanding of the story.

Overall I did enjoy this book, even though it did require a little more mental muscle than I had used in awhile for recreational reading. I would definitely recommend it to someone who is interested in broadening their horizons in literature, but maybe not for the reader who is looking more for something quick and easy.

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