I finished reading Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days" around a week ago and so I've had some time to gather my thoughts on it. This is a REVIEW so if you don't want to know what generally goes down in this book, stop reading now.
Phileas Fogg is the lead character, the Englishman who sets off on a journey circumnavigating the globe after a bet with friends who suggested it was impossible to be done in 80 days. He is the sort of character who is not troubled by anything, remains unbelievably positive in every situation, and somehow always finds a way around the tightest circumstance.
Personally, I don't like such characters, they are almost too good to be true, and as you read on, you just know that whatever happens, Mr. Fogg will come up with something to continue his journey around the world on schedule.
On the contrary, I can much more relate to those who have their frailties and human pitfalls. Passepartout, Mr. Fogg's French servant, is by far and away the star of the novel for me. He demonstrates passion, fight, ecstasy and despair. The reader can understand his emotions and actions. It was Passepartout who came up with the genius idea that saved Mrs. Aouda from certain death, and ultimately, it was this servant who realised at the end that they were in fact, one day ahead of themselves, a result of their eastward trek around the globe.
Around the World in Eighty Days gave a couple of interesting insights into Indian culture (the train and elephant journey across the country) and the Mormon religion (the train ride across Utah and the Mormon missionary's discourse). However, there were many parts of the story that seemed to pass by in a blur, which could possibly have been described in a lot more detail. Mr. Fogg and his accomplices did move on from one country to the next, one continent to the next, with alarming rapidity.
The best part of the book, however, was saved for the end, and for the first time, it showed emotion in the cold Mr. Fogg. Mrs. Aouda asks his hand in marriage, to which he replies with these legendary words:
"I love you. Yes, in truth, by everything most sacred in the world, I love you, and I am entirely yours!"
To say that was unexpected would be a gross understatement! It was a little masterclass from Jules Verne. The journey around the world didn't make Mr. Fogg much money in the end, but it did open his heart and he found true happiness and love.