If you haven't read this book, you should. It took me four years to finish. This was partially because I knew that once it was over I would never be able to read it for the first time again, and partially due to the face that it was 1,463 pages long. If you do want to read it, buy this version. It is the most accurate translation from the original French. Please don't read the abridged. There is so much beauty in the way the whole story ties together even in the historical rants that last for pages. It's an intricate puzzel.
Victor Hugo had amazing insite into the human soul. He has a very sad story and maybe that is what makes his writing so great. He knew life could be painful. But he also has hope. This story is one of my favorites because it is so incredibly heart breaking but so redemptive. I think that is beautiful. Life can be very dark, and a happy ending seems to be a cheap fix to the problem of pain. A redeeming ending gives so much more hope to life without diminishing, excusing, or ignoring the suffering that is part of life.