Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant

My Review from Book Nerds Across America
Date Read: October 8, 2011

I have to admit, I selected this as our October book to movie for one reason...Rob Pattinson.  I began reading with the expectation that this was going to be like one of the numerous books I was forced to read in high school, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a very easy ready and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  

Georges Duroy moved to Paris upon completion of his military service in order to "improve his position in life".  He is working at a railroad office making not nearly enough money to survive.  He is starving and living in poverty when he runs into an old friend on the street, Mr. Forestier.  Mr. Forestier is the editor of the La Vie Francaise newspaper.  He invites Georges to his home for dinner and gives him money to buy a nice suit for the occasion.  Mr. Forestier also invited the newspaper's owner and several writers, with hopes that they will give Georges a position on their staff.  Georges makes an excellent impression on everyone in attendance...especially the ladies.  This is where the "history of a scoundrel" truly begins.

Mr. Forestier's wife Madeleine assists Georges in writing his first article, which secures him an entry level position.  While his salary increases, his financial position does not.  He uses his additional income to bribe police officers and other insiders for information to use in his articles.  His standing as a writer improves greatly, but he decides that he will need to use other methods to advance socially.  He realizes that he has a way with the ladies and begins using his looks and charm to his advantage.  He seeks out a series of wealthy married women and establishes relationships with them based upon their ability to help him achieve his goals.  Even after amounting his own financial wealth, he is never satisfied with his position.  He is always jealous of those with more and is continuously strategizing his next move.  

I do not want to give away EVERYTHING, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the events that unfold in this book.  I can't think of a better person than Rob to play Bel Ami...which is translated as "Beautiful Friend" in the book.  The movie is now available on Netflix and DVD.  If you haven't seen it yet, here is a copy of the trailer.

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