The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux was the first book by a French novelist that I finished. I remember reading this book the summer before starting my freshman year of high school and loving it. I hadn’t seen the musical, I wasn’t familiar with the story at all (apart from an episode of Wishbone I may have seen six or seven years before).
Leroux’s tale captivated me. The story of a disfigured, mad genius living under the Paris Opera House…just the sort of exciting, nailbiting stuff I loved to read (I haven’t read the book in five or so years, but I read it pretty frequently my junior year of high school). It was suspenseful. It got me thinking, wanting to write stories of my own. I wanted to know more about Erik, Christine, Raoul…I found them to have an interesting dynamic. Love triangle and all that.
Most of all, I liked the style that Leroux wrote the story in (or more correctly, the style it was translated in). My copy was almost journalistic, before it switched to a more traditional story. And I liked the opening, with the narrator finding the gold ring beneath the Opera House. The style worked brilliantly for keeping me on the edge of my seat, even with later readings.
I need to get my copy back. It’s been too long.