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Jean Valjean was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his hungry family. When he is released years later, he has the choice to be honest or to go back to his old ways. A kind bishop’s action sets him on the right path. He becomes an honest and successful mayor and businessman, but is constantly faced with temptations to do the wrong thing or to make the wrong choice. Along the way he helps a single mother and her child and those in the French Revolution.

This is Marcia Williams’ retelling of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. The original book is over 1,000 pages long. This book is only 54 pages long and has hand-drawn pictures in a graphic novel format. So it’s obviously missing a lot of things that are in the original, but the author does a pretty good job of connecting the different parts of the story together and giving you an appreciation for the story and for what Valjean faces. If you’ve seen the movie or musical, it’s kind of like them. Although the drawings lighten the overall feeling of the story, the significance of Valjean’s challenges and changes comes through.

This version of Les Misérables is a good introduction to a classic novel and for those who would find a 1,000-page book too long to even try, it is a good place to start.

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