Do not be deceived, this book is not actually about the Man in the Iron Mask. Which is a pity because he was the most compelling character. I finally finished reading it last night. I started it when Simon — yes, Simon — was born, but lost interest, probably because I was reading it in the middle of the night when I woke up to feed him. So I gave it another go when Oliver was born, and — surprise! — had a hard time staying interested. Again. Possibly because of the same 3 am feeding issue. But I finished it. Mostly so I could say I’ve read it and be done.
I’m sad that I had such a hard time with it. The Count of Monte Cristo, also by Dumas, is one of my all-time favorites so I expected great things from this. I blame my failure to really enjoy it on several things:
1. The cover. I’m not judging it, but I certainly was influenced by it. The cover of our copy is the same as pictured above. I think we got it at a garage sale. I felt like I was reading a trashy airplane novel rather than a classic. Something about the green glow and the typeface cheapened it for me.
2. As previously mentioned: what the heck happened to the man in the iron mask?!?! How could Dumas just abandon him after all the trouble he caused?
3. I’ve never read The Three Musketeers and I had a hard time connecting with the musketeers. A shame because the book is *actually* about the drama of their demise.
And 4. I was reading it in the middle of the night. And sometimes falling asleep half-way through a sentence. Which, I think, meant I had a hard time keeping track of what was going on. I couldn’t figure out why Fouquet was on the king’s bad side after he rescued him from the Bastille (ah, yes, the embezzlement issue! Of course!). And I never really caught on to who Colbert actually was. I probably should have taken the time to go back and read through it more carefully, but, like I said, I had a hard time focusing.
I’m just glad I can say I’ve read it now, set it aside, and move on.