Phileas Fogg is a regular English gentleman, and by regular I mean he will not tolerate any variation in his rigid routine. It's for that reason he fired his last valet, and his new one, frenchman Passepartout, seems up to the challenge of a perfectly normal, completely predictable life—what's that? Phileas Fogg has just accepted a ridiculous wager. Attempt to circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days using train, ship, carriage, and any other method of transportation that crosses his path.
Off they go, carrying one hundred thousand pounds. But a thief has just stolen that amount from the bank of England, and a certain Inspector Fox has reason to suspect that a sudden trip around the world is a perfect cover for a fleeing thief. Phileas Fogg has one more obstacle to his already tight schedule. It has never been done before, and if Phileas Fogg loses he forfeits his entire fortune.
Phileas Fogg's fantastic journey is certainly one of (if not THE) best Jules Verne novel. The methods of transportation vary from steam train to elephant to tiny ship to ice sled. There's no lack of adventure either. Phileas Fogg saves a woman from a Sati (widow burning) in India, fends off a Sioux attack in America, and always tries to dodge the dogged (and wrong) Inspector Fox.
This is edge-of-your-seat thrilling, but it's the characters who make this story a classic. Phileas Fogg, is calm, cool, and intrepid and Passepartout is loyal, brave resourceful. Phileas Fogg has genuine affection for his servant, and for other people. He doesn't let his wager become more important than actually doing good and helping those in need.
It's significant that Phileas Fogg gains nothing of material worth on his trip round the world. He doesn't make a profit. He travels the whole world, and what does he gain? Nothing—except friendship and love. Phileas Fogg realizes he doesn't need routine, or riches, or adventure to be happy. He needs love.
“Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?”
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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