Just a warning – there are no hot-air balloons in this book! What the hell book cover, YOU LIE.
Despite the lack of travel via balloon, this was such a fun book! So, this is about an odd little* man named Phileas Fogg who is extremely punctual and calm and likes to play whist. Can we talk for a minute about how awesome the name Phileas is? I dig it. Anyways one night while playing whist with some other gentlemen they get to talking about how the newspaper estimates that a trip can be made around the world in as few as 80 days, and most of the men don’t believe it, but Phileas Fogg who loves everything punctual says yes it CAN be done and a bet happens. Phileas Fogg grabs his new servant Passepartout and they take off for a trip around the world, and have to be back in exactly 80 days or he loses the bet. Oh and they’re followed the whole time by a grouchy detective named Mr. Fix.
This book was crazy popular back in the 1870s because Mr. Fogg uses basically every cool new means of transportation there is at that time, and that was all super impressive and stuff. To me, it was “Oh look, a train” and “Oh yeah, steamer boats, that’s cool” so that amazement at scientific progress isn’t quite what it used to be, but the book more than makes up for that with whimsy and fun. There were elephants, and rescuing a lady, and fights with Indians, and a lot more adventure that was all carried out calmly and hence with a lot of sass by Mr. Fogg. There were even a couple of “Oh snap!” moments near the end, which always impresses me when I read classics.
Jules Verne is mostly known for being a classic sci-fi author, but I wouldn’t label Around the World in Eighty Days as sci-fi. Despite the lack of hot-air balloons (damn you, movie adaptations that made me believe that was a thing in this story), I really did enjoy reading this – it was entertaining, and Phileas Fogg is a really memorable character. And I’m now I’m looking forward to reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea even more.
Sarah Says: 4 stars
* I actually don’t know if he’s short or tall, but in my head he’s a teeny little man.