24 Books in 2015 - Cyrano de Bergerac (August)

How many of you used to watch the PBS show Wishbone? As a kid I was obsessed with that wonderful little Jack Russell Terrier that would act out classic literature as it related to the personal problems of his human family. So good. This month, my second book for August, to reach my 24 Books in 2015 goal, was Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, which just so happened to be a book featured on Wishbone. I was incredibly excited and a little bit nostalgic to read this one due to the Wishbone factor.

Cyrano

I did not know, until opening the book (which I got at the Hilltop Book Festival a few weeks ago, by the way) that the story was actually a play, so I was a little surprised. This didn't bother me, though, since I love both reading and watching plays, but it just wasn't what I expected. No big deal.

Another thing I did not even consider is that the Wishbone version of Cyrano would differ slightly from Rostand's work. I mean, who would have thought that a PBS children's show would alter some content in order to get that TV-Y rating and fit the play's plot into a 30 minute episode? Get it together, Niki.

Anyway, for those of you who are not privy to the plot of Cyrano de Bergerac, listen up: Cyrano loves Roxane who loves Christian. Christian also loves Roxane, although Roxane and Christian have not met. Ah, but the plot thickens, Christian is a good-looking guy but does not have a way with words. Alas, our Cyrano is eloquent, albeit quite unattractive thanks to his huge nose, and he decides to help Christian by telling him what to say to Roxane. Eventually, Cyrano and Christian are called to war, & Cyrano continues to speak for Christian by writing letters for him to Roxane every day. As you can imagine, this ultimately gets out of hand.

Spoiler time! Christian unfortunately dies during the war, with Roxane still under the assumption that he is the one who said and wrote such beautiful words to her. Right before his death, she revealed to Christian that she was so taken by his words that she would be in love with him even if he wasn't so darn handsome. For the next fifteen years, Roxane mourns her lost love while Cyrano still pines for her; he does not tell Roxane that it was him, not Christian, that she is actually in love with. In the end, Cyrano dies, but not before Roxane finally realizes it was him that created the poetry she fell in love with, not Christian, which is just terrible timing, really. Some differences between the play and the Wishbone episode: in the play, Cyrano has an awful lot of enemies due to the fact that he has a sharp tongue and is a master swordsman. Both of these traits ultimately lead to his death (which Wishbone decided to exclude - probably a good idea for the kids). Also, in the play, Christian and Roxane get married mere minutes before he & Cyrano go off to war; it's not important in the long run, though, so no harm done in Wishbone cutting the marriage out of the show.

The story, of course, is quite far-fetched, but that's what makes it so fun. Cyrano is a sassy fellow who is always ready for either a fight and/or a poetry slam. Christian is fairly bland and boring, but that's the point of his character. Roxane, though, is the character with which I find the most fault - she loves Christian first and foremost because of how he looks, but then she becomes bored with him when he can't poetically tell her that he loves her (without Cyrano's help, of course). Him loving her isn't enough; she expects that gorgeous man to express his love in an dramatic way, which is just as shallow as her loving him for how handsome he is. All she truly wants is to hear expressions of love, not to actually be loved. Even though Roxane frustrated me, I still enjoyed Cyrano de Bergerac and hope you Hipsters give it a chance--or at least watch the Wishbone episode.

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