I recall a time, either in 7th or 8th grade, when we had to write a story for class that would then be critiqued by our fellow students. The reason I recall this particular case is that my peers said that my story included too much dialogue without the words “he said” or “she said”. I remember being told that every time a character speaks, I ought to include who said it.
In other words, this:
I ate lunch,” Dave said.
“I ate lunch.”
My argument was that in a two-person dialogue it could be expected that every-other line was by each person. So it is not necessary, every single time, to remind who is speaking. In such a situation as this, it ought to be assumed who says the third line:
“I ate lunch,” Dave said.
“What did you have,” Emily asked.
“Ham and cheese sandwich.”
Clearly, Dave is speaking the third line. But as I recall, my peers said I needed to specifically say who spoke the line. I was shot down, I think even by the teacher.
I am happy to know that Alexander Dumas, the great French novelist, would have failed this assignment too. Where I might include 2-4 lines of dialogue with no specification of who said it, assuming the reader can remember back a paragraph or two, Dumas often has page after page of dialogue. There were times I forgot who was talking.
All that to say, I feel vindicated all these years later. The fact I remember this must mean I have been scarred by it for decades.
Anyway, the point is, I read The Three Musketeers! It is a classic and I mostly enjoyed it. Though I did find each of the main four characters unlikable at times. D’Artagnan, the hero, at one point goes into the dark bedroom of Milady, the villain. She thinks he is her lover and has sex with him. He knowingly deceives her. When she finds out he basically raped her, she wants to kill him. Yet she is the villain? D’Artagnan comes across, throughout the story, as kind of a jerk.
I found it hard to admire any of the main characters – they have affairs with married people and waste money when they stumble into it, to name a few things. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Overall it is still a great story, a true classic. I enjoyed it thoroughly and recommend it to any reader. Just make sure to take close notes of who is speaking the dialogue!