Lit Review: Georges

Alexandre Dumas is well known for his plot twists and adventure tales. Georges does not disappoint. What is unique to Georges is a main character, who like Dumas himself, is a mulatto.

The novel’s eponymous main character sets out to revenge himself, and all men of color, after being wronged as a child by a white nobleman’s son. Needless to say, such a setting and plot is rather out of the normal for books of its time. In addition to this, we are offered a rare view from Dumas on the plight he faced as a mulatto.

It may be extrapolated from the plot that the mistreatment he received on behalf of many whites left him bitter. Such a notion of a hero of color could only have been revolutionary and daring in a time when the vestiges of racism clung to society. And yet, such a book only gains enormous importance after its author finds immense success with The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo a few years later. In their completed greatness and recognition as literary classics even in their time, a book with a strong statement on the struggle of mixed race individuals could gain a subsequent foothold in the minds of former enemies.

All that said, there are a few details that kept me from placing Georges amongst my all time favorites, though certainly in the hall of great books. Namely, the primary villains disappear from the book without the major confrontation expected, and desired to be frank. The final confrontation takes place with an unexpected individual which turned out to be befitting a Dumas plot turn, leaving a divot in my mind as to Dumas’ purpose of making him the antagonist, though certainly not a villain.

Any fans of Dumas ought to read this book even in spite of the climactic battle of good and evil being forgone. It does ache to be much longer than the 300 or so pages that it is, which is fitting. It reads heavily as a The Count of Monte Cristo-lite. More than anything, the view of how life was for men of mixed race, and especially as represents Dumas’ own life and family, makes it well worth reading.

I give the book a 8.9.

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