Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Les Miserables ~ Audio Edition

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".... Listen to me there will be more joy in heaven over the tears of a repentent sinner than over the white robes of a hundred just men. If you're leaving that terrible place with hatred against men you deserve compassion. But if you leave it with good will and peace your better than any of us." the priest who shows compassion to Jean Valjean
Les Miserables (Radio Theatre) 
Les Miserables
by Victor Hugo
Audio Edition featuring the
  Focus on the Family Radio Theatre
ISBN: 978-1589973947
$10.18 (3 CD Set)

About the Audio Edition:
The story that has thrilled millions comes to life in a brand new way in Focus on the Family Radio Theatre's Les Miserables. This audio drama beautifully portrays the redeeming power of forgiveness through the story of Jean Valjean, an embittered convict whose life is changed by a single act of kindness. Recorded in London with some of England's finest actors, it will mesmerize adults and families alike.

My thoughts:
I'm probably one of the few adults who had never read the Les Miserables book and I actually knew very little about the story except that it had been made into a Broadway Production and was a raving success. When I saw that Tommy Nelson had made the Audio Version available to listen to I jumped at the chance figuring I had a better chance of finishing the story if I listened to it than if I tried to read it. The Radio Theatre is conducted with a Full Cast of Actors including Cinema Sound and the Original Music Score. Obviously it's not as violent as the movie or the book - but it was very easy to be transported directly to the scene and events as the story unfolds as are all Focus on the Family Radio Theatre productions!

The story begin with the story of Jean Valjean who is a convicted thief after stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's children who were starving & in return he is sentenced to 19 years of hard labor. He's angry, bitter and disillusioned and believes that no one will help him or care about him because he is a dangerous man.

He meets a priest who treats him with kindness, brings out the best service and feeds him and intentionally encourages him to make something of himself, to not let others dictate what his life is and will be and to show compassion to others that are hurting.

"I'm an ex-convict, a thief ~ and yet you take me in. You light your candles, and bring out your best service!" said Jean Valjean. To which the priest replied: "This house, and all that is in it belongs to Christ. If you're suffering, if you're hungry, ill or thirsty, then everything here belongs to you as much as it does to me. No, even more."

Before Jean Valjean retires for the evening the priest tells him, "and please, if you have need of anything ~ consider it yours." Jean Valjean ends up leaving early the next morning with silver spoons that he decides to take since the priest said he could (I think he believed the priest was baiting him some - and if he was caught would never stand up for him). He ends up arrested, the police find the silver and Jean tells them the priest gave it to him. When asked, the priest says it is his and then tells Jean that he is to keep it (as well as the silver candlesticks he had forgotten) and then he reminds him that he has promised to use the silver to become an honest man. (Can you imagine his astonishment and confusion?)

I saw so many likenesses to certain stories in the Bible such as The Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and in particular the verse in Matthew 25:35 "For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home." This theme plays throughout the story as it continues...

The added bonus of this story was that Jean uses the compassion and mercy shown to him by the priest to make something of himself. He uses the words of the priest as a way to measure himself and his actions to become an honest man.

Fantastic story ~ I strongly suggest all families listen to this! Use it as part of your family time, listen to it while cleaning up the kitchen, during evening devotions, in the car on trips and then discuss how each of us can make a difference in the lives of others and how our actions show our true personality and character to others.

Purchase Les Miserables on Amazon for the amazing price of $10.18 - it comes with 3 CD's, uses a full cast and surround sound to dramatize the story.

You might be interested in:
Here is a wonderful discussion of the movie Les Miserables that came out in January 2013 - (Please do not go see the movie before reading it
I love how this family discusses the lessons and what we can learn from a book - wonderful! You can do this exact same thing when you read a novel or listen to an audio with your family!

The Utah Shakespeare Festival has a complete Study Guide in PDF you might find interesting with a discussion about the author, the story, characters and more. 

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of the Audio Edition to listen to and review on Classic Children's Books. I was not required to have a positive review and no money exchanged hands.

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