Review: Don Quixote

What it is: Don Quixote de La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential works of fiction, especially among Spanish literature. The title character, dubbed Don Quixote, becomes obsessed with reading about knights errant and their chivalric adventures. He goes insane, and attempts to bring these fictitious books to life with the help of his recruited squire, Sancho Panza, who tries to ground Don Quixote on their journeys.

What I liked about it: This book is hilarious. The humor is dry and witty, filled with dramatic and verbal irony. Plus Don Quixote’s antics themselves never fail to amuse. Matt and I listened to the audiobook version on our road trip, and often we found ourselves cackling with laughter and referencing the jokes later. I expected a book so old to be boring, but it was so funny that it kept our interest.

What I didn’t like about it: It’s so long. The actual book is around 900 pages, and the audiobook is 41 hours long. At some point, it becomes repetitive: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza go somewhere, get into some sort of trouble, and then emerge weary but still willing to continue their adventure. Despite the humor keeping us laughing, the plot did eventually get tedious.

Memorable quote: “I must speak the truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Overall rating: 4/5 stars.

Challenge satisfied: #22, read a book published before 1850. Don Quixote was published in 1605, although the translation was much more modern.

Additional notes: Technically we didn’t finish Don Quixote, but we did complete the first of the two volumes and decided that was satisfactory, since 20 hours of an audiobook is probably enough to get the gist of it, eh?


Don Quixote is book 18 of 24 for my Read Harder Challenge. You can also read my reviews of Blue is the Warmest Color and Order of Seven

An affiliate link is used in this post. All opinions in this review are my own and are not influenced by the affiliate.

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18 thoughts on “Review: Don Quixote

  1. 41 hours of audio book? WHAT? I definitely need to put this one on my to read list…but the length of it is so daunting!

    I read a lot of old weird stuff as an English and history major and often times, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s easy to get in our heads that old means boring, but our ancestors could be quite witty. If you’re ever in the mood for a for a fourteenth century chivalric romance written in Middle English (because when doesn’t that sound like fun??) Sir Gaiwan and the Green Knight is quit the tale. I recall laughing out loud a few times while reading it.

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      • It’s a bit of a tough read…even a translated version (Middle English is practically a foreign language) because the sentence structures are so complex…but it’s worth the trouble for the story, which really is quite funny and enjoyable

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to read “el Quijote” in old, old Spanish to complete my course work for my degree in Spanish Literature. It wasn’t taught the year I needed to finish (taught alternate years) so I ended up having to do it through independent study and having to meet with the professor to discuss it over coffee each week. Talk about grueling!

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    • Oh, I had to read this in old Spanish to complete my degree, too! Not all of it, and not via independent study, but I feel your pain!

      Maybe the audiobook would be better. Was it an updated version, Sabina? I remember the language being a challenge, and not because it was in Spanish. It was likened to Shakespeare by my professor. I liked it most of the time, but it was…a journey.

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      • I believe the translation was more modern. The words weren’t difficult to understand like Shakespeare would be, which I was grateful for since it was already hard enough to stay awake on those long stretches of I-80.

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  3. I’ve finished all of the Read Harder tasks except this one. I guess I was waiting for some grand inspiration to come to me, but I finally gave up and checked out A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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  4. Finish it. How could one just go through a book halfway?!
    That dialogue about the truth is very prevalent, the hindi translation is the oath one takes before they stand to testify, if this book is the origin then wow, thanks

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  10. I missed this review the first time round. I read Don Quixote aloud to my kids, just as my mother read it aloud to me. It’s such a great story, with so many messages to think about and to talk about. I hope someday you get to finish it.

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