|The Phantom of the Opera|
by Gaston Leroux
Genres: Classic, Romance, Intrigue
While Gaston Leroux never wrote a sequel to his original story, many writers have written fan fiction sequels. Even though it technically is not a series, I decided to review the original novel along with two sequels as this month's Serial Sunday selection.
I had never read this nor seen any of the movies or plays so went into this book blind, so to speak, with just the barest idea of the story line. The Phantom is a tragic character. His disfigurement gave him a face that not even his mother could love. His plea to be loved for himself tugs at the heartstrings as long as you don't think about it too deeply. If you take away looks and want to be judged on your personality, heart, or soul ... well Erik's just not a very nice person if one is completely honest about the fact. With some of the things that he does, I think he would find it difficult to find a wife even if he was gorgeous. But maybe not, women marry good looking abusive husbands all the time.
On one hand, I can see why this story is loved by many. The mysteriousness of the way the Phantom suddenly appears and disappears - or is heard without appearing at all - is delightfully intriguing. But I found it slightly disappointing at the end as well. I can only compare this feeling to when you learn how a magician performs his trick and it takes away the wonder and bewilderment of it all.
It can be argued if Erik is a product of nurture or nature. Surely he has had a rough life and many feel he is justified in his actions, or maybe he would have developed his fondness for cruelty anyway. Either way this was a good story and worth the read.