Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870)
Before I begin, let’s get the childish giggles out of the way. It’s pronounced Doo-ma. Not Dumbass!! (Ok, so dumbass is quite funny - I’ll give you that)
I was 21 when I first read The Count of Monte Cristo and it changed everything for me.
Allow me to set the scene;
I had just finished University and was going on my first holiday with a girl. Not just any girl… this was the girl that I had fell in love with on the second day of University (and from whom I had copied all of my essays), the girl who was clearly out of my league and the girl that would be the base of every decision I would make thereafter. Lots of pressure, I’m sure you will agree.
I decided to go and get myself a ‘clever book’ for the holiday, so I could look cultured to both her and passers by. I scoured the classics section of WH Smith and found a 1,500 page behemoth called ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ and thought ‘that’ll do.’
Little did I know.
I had heard of the phrase ‘couldn’t put it down’ and ‘a real page turner’ but I had never heard of anything like this. From the first page to the last it was in my thoughts. Have you ever had a book that is so intriguing that it becomes your reality and life is just what happens between you picking it back up? Well this is what happened to me. I had found my drug. If I had a spare 30 seconds then I would frantically open it and read one sentence just to get my fix.
In a nutshell I ignored that girl for the entire holiday. (That girl is now my wife and would probably say that she was happy to get some peace and quiet!)
I treat myself to a new Dumas book every year and he never disappoints. Through the 'D’Artagnan Romances' to the 'Black Tulip' we are catapulted into swashbuckling worlds where integrity, friendship, honour and adventure are the cornerstones of our heroes. Worlds that allow villains to hide behind class structure and high society ceremony to gain power. What more could you ask for in a book?
I have been preaching about Dumas to anyone who will listen for a number of years and every now and then someone will pick up ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ – probably just to shut me up. Unfortunately, I then have to hate that person (now that I’ve written that down I realise it sounds a little harsh). I hate them because I can never again read this book for the first time. I can never NOT know what is coming. Oh how I hate those who still have that.
Alexandre Dumas matters to me because he started off my love of literature. He’s the bar to which I hold every writer.
Dumbass….. that’s funny though!