The first time I really heard of it was when I watched it on TV with my dad. It was the 25th anniversary version, with Alfie Boe as Jean ValJean. We came in part-way through-- at On My Own. I watched in awe. I really had no idea what the plot was, who the characters were-- anything. But multiple times I was nearly moved to tears by the music and lyrics. When it was over, I bought two of the songs on Itunes.
Since then, you could say I'm obsessed.
After several false starts reading it, and upon the recommendation from Noel, I got it on audible. I finally finished it (60 hours) last week
Just about a year ago, I saw it in London, at the Queen's Theater. What an experience!
I saw a high school production of it, too.
I went to a voice recital on campus and it was wonderful just to hear it sung.
I plan to see it in theaters. Maybe more than once...
The story itself, though, is so sad. So 'miserable'.
Jean Val Jean just keeps acting opposite how everyone expects him to. He honestly cares about many of the other characters more than himself. And he has the strongest conscience of all the characters. And things from his past just keep looming in front of him. I think its a beautiful story about rising above expectations, about doing good even to the extent of sacrificing self, about what is right, and what is wrong even through it is socially acceptable...
It is just wonderful.
For some reason I just can't find it in me to like Cossett. Listening to the whole book actually reinforced this initial dislike. I think it is because I find her childlike, petty and annoying.
And my favorite characters would have to be Enjrolas and Gavrosh. By far.