First off, I must confess that I started reading this book several years ago and abandoned it. I picked it up again in late 2011 and have plugged away ever since. While I sometimes had cause to wish I'd chosen an abridged version of the book, I'm glad I stuck with it.As most folks know, "Les Miserables" is the story of Jean Valjean, an unjustly convicted man. It is also the story of the French revolutions of 1830 and 1832, which happened during remarkably similar economic times to what we in the United States have seen in the past few years. This coincidence made the events of the book particularly poignant.The political and historical background of the time period, which are left out of abridged editions of the book, lend a great deal of subtext to the story. While it is not always easy going (those are the times when I wished I'd made a different choice), at the end of the day I was glad to have the additional understanding.Well-written, with interesting and three-dimensional characters. Highly recommended for fans of the play or for those who love French novels.