Around the World in Eighty Days

by Jules Verne, 1873

Finished 12/14/18

Loved, loved, LOVED this book! Phileas Fogg, a rich Englishman, decides to take on the challenge to go around the world in 80 days. He takes his brand new servant, Passepartout, along and the adventures they have together are so entertaining.

In India, they save a beautiful Indian woman named Aouda from being burned alive with her dead husband. They take her along for the ride to Hong Kong and when they find her relative no longer lives in Hong Kong, Phileas Fogg takes her to America and eventually back to London. In Hong Kong, Passepartout and Phileas Fogg get separated due to the devious Detective Fix. He thinks Phileas Fogg has robbed 55,000 pounds from the Bank of England and he is waiting for a warrant to arrive so he can arrest him. He ends up going along for the ride all the way around the world in hopes of arresting Mr. Fogg. When Mr. Fogg finally makes it back to England, Detective Fix arrests him and puts him in jail. After he has been there for 3 hours, he is released because the real thief was arrested 3 days prior. Unfortunately, Mr. Fogg arrives back in London 5 minutes late (he thinks) so he goes back to his home in London, bringing Aouda and Passepartout. Aouda asks him to marry him and Mr. Fogg agrees. He sends Passepartout to find the priest and Passepartout discovers it is 1 day earlier than they thought so he rushes home, grabs Phileas Fogg, and they end up strolling into the Social Club exactly 80 days after they left and Phileas Fogg wins the bet! What a lark! Loved this book!

Here’s what Jules Verne has to say about opium – that is what Detective Fix used to detain Passepartout in Hong Kong:

“Fix and Passepartout found that they were in a smoking-house haunted by those wretched, cadaverous, idiotic creatures to whom the English merchants sell every year the miserable drug called opium, to the amount of one million four hundred thousand pounds–thousands devoted to one of the most despicable vices which afflict humanity! The Chinese government has in vain attempted to deal with the evil by stringent laws. It passed gradually from the rich, to whom it was first exclusively reserved, to the lower classes, and then its ravages could not be arrested. Opium is smoked everywhere, at all times, by men and women, in the Celestial Empire; and, once accustomed to it, the victims cannot dispense with it, except by suffering horrible bodily contortions and agonies. A great smoker can smoke as many as eight pipes a day; but he dies in five years.”

While crossing America by train, the train is stopped by a huge herd of buffalo crossing the tracks. Passepartout is beside himself and wants to shoot them, but there is nothing they could do but wait it out. Here is what Jules Verne wrote:

“The engineer did not try to overcome the obstacle, and he was wise. He would have crushed the first buffaloes, no doubt, with the cowcatcher; but the locomotive, however powerful, would soon have been checked, the train would inevitably have been thrown off the track, and would then have been helpless.”

It was a wonderful book! Loved the different characters – Phileas Fogg, very calm, methodical, never upset or in a hurry, never worried, despite a thousand obstacles thrown in his way. He always did the right thing – detouring to save Aouda, detouring to save Passepartout (from the Sioux Indians in America), and all the while completely calm and unflappable.

Passepartout, a devoted servant of his master, refusing to believe that his master was a thief, and funny, talented, athletic, and spirited.

Detective Fix the suspicious, conniving, devious villain who almost ruins everything.

Aouda, the beautiful Indian woman, forever grateful to Phileas Fogg for saving her life, and saves the day because she asks him to marry her. That is how they find out they gained a day and actually arrived in time to win the bet.

Wonderful, delightful book! There is a 1956 Academy Award winning movie that I have requested from the library so we’ll see how it compares with the book.