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Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Cyrano de Bergerac

If you ever want to read a classic but don't want to devote all the time and brain power needed to digest a stuffy and old novel, I recommend a play.  "Cyrano de Bergerac" was my choice when I found it in the discount bin at The Strand for $0.48 ($0.52 with tax - big spendah).  Cheapness aside, I was interested in reading this play for a while since it is constantly resurrected and modernized.  (The movies "Roxanne," "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," and "The Ugly Truth" are all based on it, to name a few.)

Sure there's tragedy.  Some of the main characters die at the end, but the parts leading up to it are cute and funny and even the deaths at the end come with closure for the characters so it's not too sad.  If that was too much of a spoiler for you, I'm sorry but this play was written over a century ago so I don't think it's a big deal.  It's also not the most important part.  Here's the stuff to care about:

Cyrano is a gallant guy who can take on 100 men in a fight, no problem.  But he's also a real softie.  He's got the makings of a real catch.  Except he's got this huge shnoz.  He's pretty self conscious about it, which keeps him from declaring his love for Roxanne.  It doesn't really matter, though, because Roxanne and [another dude] Christian see each other across a room and fall in love.  When it comes time for introductions, however, Christian is worried he'll come across as a fool because he's not really good at expressing himself.  Cyrano, convinced he has has no chance with Roxanne, helps out his boy Christian because he's got a way with words.  When she hears Cyrano's beautiful sentiments coming from beautiful Christian, Roxanne is all the more in love.  As the men go to war, Cyrano holds onto his love in secret, confident that he is doing the right thing by bringing two people together even if it means he will never, himself, know love.

3.5 out of 5 stars.  (I think I would have liked it better in its original French where the verses rhyme.) 

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