Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days is Jules Verne’s classic adventure tale. I was thoroughly entertained as I read about Phileas Fogg and his servant, Passepartout, attempting to win a high stakes bet.

I read Around the World in Eighty Days as part of the 2021 Thoughtful Reading Challenge. July’s challenge was to read a book by a French author. Because I didn’t have time to thoroughly research contemporary authors I went with a classic, and I’m glad I did.

The premise is this: Phileas Fogg, a very wealthy and stoic British gentleman, accepts a challenge from some fellow club members to traverse the globe in eighty days, a real challenge in 1872. His entire fortune is at stake, but he seems undaunted throughout the journey, even in the face of time-consuming setbacks. His travel companion, on the other hand, is the emotional one. Passepartout, Fogg’s French manservant, begins the unexpected trip the day he’s hired and provides some comic relief throughout the story.

They head east around the world, which takes them to places like Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and America. Verne describes many of the scenes in great detail, which was mostly very interesting even though, or maybe because, the world has changed substantially since the book was written. Passepartout is amazed by everything he sees along the way and even gets into some mischief because he doesn’t understand the different cultures. In contrast, Fogg is indifferent to everything, preferring to play whist rather than admire the scenery.

around the world in Eighty Days 2

The trip is not smooth sailing. It’s complicated by a case of mistaken identity, the rescue of a damsel in distress, rough seas, marauding Sioux Indians, unreliable train routes, and even giant herds of buffalo. All of this, of course, adds to the excitement and suspense. Up until the end, the reader isn’t sure if they will meet their deadline, and the story ends with a flourish.

I really liked Around the World in Eighty Days. Like most classics, the writing took a while to get used to, but it ultimately wasn’t a distraction. It’s very entertaining and I can see why it has staying power.

If you’ve read Around the World in Eighty Days, please let me know what you thought. And if you read a book by a French author this month, please share!

**Reminder – August’s challenge is to read a book with the sun on its cover.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

  1. What great memories! I read the book in high school and again with our son when he was younger. Both times I loved both the adventure and the “lessons.” Our next door neighbor has a great roving male cat (grey, domestic short hair) named Fogg after Jules Verne’s character. He often comes over to visit on our deck. I like to think we are another country in his travels!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too read Around The World In 80 Days and also really enjoyed it. Having read my fair share of Sherlock Holmes stories, the writing style of Jules Verne reminded me a lot of reading Arthur Conan Doyle. When I discovered that they were written around the same period and also published weekly, it all made sense! The storyline itself was quite enjoyable but as an avid traveller, I was fascinated by the detail Verne narrated of the many places throughout the world that Fogg travelled. Considering how long ago it was written, Verne must have spent a tremendous amount of time (not on the internet!) researching the various countries, regions, people, cultures, etc. I can only imagine that for the reading audience of his day, hearing stories of adventure and intrigue from around the world must have served as great entertainment. Clearly why this book is a classic is because it still remains relevant and entertaining today. Great choice!

    Liked by 1 person

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