By Heather O.
Our library had one of those book sales, you know, the awesome 3 day kind where you can find really good stuff for under $2.00. I LOVE these kind of book sales, and spent over 20 bucks and felt happy about the 15 books I got with the money. Ahh, more books to pack, yipee!
One of the books we got for a quarter was an Illustrated Classic Edition of _The Three Musketeers_. My BIL has read these kinds of books to his young children, and he recommended them. We read the Illustrated Classic version of_The Call of the Wild_ to J, and he loved it. Nature, ice and snow, a little bit of animal violence–what’s not to love? He seemed equally excited when he saw the Disneyesque picture of 3 dashing soldiers on the front of this cover of Dumas’ Classic. I felt like a virtuous parent for buying it for him, and even more virtuous when the kid sat through the first 30 pages of it, no wiggling at all. Woohoo, we have an attention span, people!
Note: I have never actually read _The Three Musketeers_. I saw it performed on stage when I was in high school, and faked a good enough book report from the play to pass it in for freshman English. Needless to say, I don’t remember much. And that was my big mistake.
Anyway, I figured it would have some violence-Musketeers are, after all, soldiers, but I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad, and thought we could handle it.
I was unprepared, however, for the adultery.
Yeah, adultery. Queens falling in love with Dukes and giving him the King’s diamonds, D’Artagnan having something going on the side with a married woman, who he drops like a soiled dishrag the minute Milady DeWinter gives him a little nudge nudge and a wink wink, yaknowwhatImean? J started asking questions like, “Why does that woman hate her husband?”, and it was then I knew we had to stash that Illustrated Classic away for another time, perhaps.
But this is Alexandre Dumas. I was supposed to read this as a 14 year old. It’s supposed to be a classic. Why, then, did I feel like I was reading a trashy romance novel, sans the explicit sex? And I’m sure that the version without the Japination-like picture on every page was definitely a little more, shall we say, um, steamy?
So, I’m a little perplexed. Aren’t we supposed to encourage our children to read more advanced things? Aren’t classics supposed to be good literature? I have to say, after this experience, we might be sticking with Clifford the Big Red Dog for quite a while. Any thoughts on if classical literature is actually inappropriate? And please, no sermons on how Dumas was probably the wrong guy to go with at this age. I have definitely learned my lesson.
Unrelated side note: J has just informed me that the Lindt Truffles that DH got me for Mother’s Day look just like the Death Star. And, upon further inspection, I discover he is absolutely right. Screw Dumas, I’m sticking with George Lucas.
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