Book Review: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo)

Victor Hugo party central! Let’s do it.

Have I read this before: Way back in junior high. I actually think this might have been one of the first books on my list I read. Not the first first, but one of them.

Review: This story is intense, yo. Some of these reviews are hard ‘cause I was a Disney kid and thus always have the Disney versions in the back of my head somewhere. I don’t remember a freaking word of this from when I read it before, but I was actually surprised at some of the things that Disney kept almost directly from the story. Like Quasi holding Esmeralda up and yelling “sanctuary!” once he swung her into Notre Dame. And Quasi throwing rocks at and dumping molten metal on the dudes trying to break into the cathedral (granted, in Disney Movie Land they weren’t the tramps but the Frollo Army, but still). AND Frollo’s death.

I still feel bad for Frollo, man. I know he’s the “bad guy” and he’s creepy as hell at some parts of the novel, but Hugo does portray his torment as real and believable. The fact that he’s also shown as displaying quite a bit of compassion at parts makes him even more believable.

Favorite part: I feel weird saying this, especially since there are some super disturbing and sobering moments in this book, but parts of Hunchback are pretty hilarious. Oh my god.

  • The deaf judge trying to interrogate the deaf Quasimodo. “Now, here was a case that the law had not provided for—the deaf interrogating the deaf.” The consequences of this scene were pretty bad, but the scene itself is freaking great.
  • “Having reached the pillar gallery, he [Jehan] stood puffing for a moment then swore at the endless stairs by I don’t know how many million cartloads of devils.”
  • Captain Phoebus can’t get Esmeralda’s name right. He calls her “Similar” for like three pages.
  • “The thunderbolts of god are not hurled against a lettuce!”

Rating: 7.5/10

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