I just read this book last night, finished it in two days and read until 4:00 a.m. last night because I couldn't put it down. It was really interesting. The subject matter almost made me not read it when I read the introduction and found out that the heroine is Margarite , a "kept" woman or in other words a prostitute in the 1800s in France. But I read some of the first of it and it was so well written that you just have to know how the story goes on between Margarite and Armand. The story does not make excuses for the abomination and I know why it is a classic. It in every way spoke of not judging them and being Christian towards them. It was more a story of how those women were treated like garbage during their lives and even in death. They were objects to men and cast off by women. It reminded me of Gone with the Wind and Milley who was still kind to Belle even though everyone knew who she was. This poor girl is given a chance to really be loved by just Armand and tries to clean up her life, but because of the prejudice of society, can't do it and in the end she sacrifices all she is and has for Armand and his family. And not being able to tell him why, he then treats her terribly and yet she is still kind to him. The introduction bothered me though because whoever wrote it missed the morals and the reasons behind the whole book and instead seemed to celebrate it as a women's sexual rights movement because she wasn't bound by the rules of men. Whoever this guy is, he must not have read the book. All of what he said was so much further from what the book was trying to show. How she was never free, but bound by society to be an object, to be treated like a slave and how it ruined her in the end. It was an eye opening look into that side of the sad case it was for women, especially back then and still now. And how Margarite was truly a heroine because through it all she was still inherently good because of all she sacrificed of herself for those she loved and others she didn't even know.
I love reading classics because the lessons that come from them are often so much harder to find in "new" books. C.S. Lewis said something along the lines that for every new book one reads they should read another old book. That the sad part about the youth- and he said this when he was alive, it is even more true today than ever- is that they know everything about the last few years, but nothing about the last several decades. That reading old books opens you to what did happen. I read a lot more old books than new books because I learn so much from them.