Thursday, March 29, 2012

Around the World in 80 Days - First Impressions

     This book was the children's pick for my goodreads group last month. Better late than never right? This was one of those books that I had a low grade interest in reading, but that was the point in joining the reading group, to expand my horizons a bit and help give me some direction as to what to read next. I have such a hard time deciding sometimes, there are just TOO many books to pick from.

     Most people already know the premise, Phileas Fogg has 80 days to travel around the globe. It started off as a bet with some of his buddies, and this grand scheme is set upon just to prove that it can be done. The funny thing is that Phileas Fogg is known for his structured sedimentary life. He gets up, eats, leaves, returns, and heads to bed at precisely the same time every day. He fired his servant for throwing off his strict schedule.

     Jean Passepartout is weary of his adventurous lifestyle. Up to this point, he had always been sort of a jack of all trades. His list of previous jobs even include acrobat and what would be the equivalent to today's fireman. He had heard of Phileas Fogg and thought that the rigid schedule was just what he'd needed. As he prepares for, and looks forward to, the lack of excitement, Phileas Fogg returns home earlier than expected and leaves that night to embark on his journey.

     I'm not going to say that this book doesn't deserve a read. Personally I think all classics should be read at least once. But this story does seem to lack the excitement of some others I have read, while not being a particular chore to plod through. Though the book is seriously outdated, as we can probably travel the world in 80 hours now if one isn't detained in airport security too long between connections, I find this book interesting mainly for the historical value as Phileas travels mainly by steamer and train. At one point in India the train tracks have not been completely laid yet and an alternate mode of travel is needed to get him to where the train tracks pick back up again. Contrary to popular belief, he does NOT travel by hot air balloon, which was kind of disappointing.

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