I’m trying to figure out how best to talk about this one. I started reading Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist for a book group with my girlfriends. I did not choose this one, however, I have been looking forward to it for a while. It’s supposed to be the scariest, best Vampire tale. Ever. Period. End of story.
For the record it’s terrifying. So much so that I couldn’t read it at night. It freaked me out too much. That said, it’s not the vampire parts of the book that I found disturbing.
Wow. Trying to figure out how to talk about this. It’s really tough. The book is about a small suburb in Sweden called Blackeberg. A boy named Oskar lives with his mother in an apartment complex. He goes to school and is frequently bullied by a group of boys there. He befriends the neighbour girl, Eli, whose strange quirks keep him fascinated. She only comes out at night, she insists on being invited over thresholds, and she continues to look like she’s wasting away one night only to appear lush and healthy the next. Oskar is concerned. He’s falling in love with her but he doesn’t know how to handle it.
Sounds simple right? I’m afraid it’s a lot more complex than that. There are tons of side plots, side characters, and side intrigues that make up this whole book. It’s like watching the ending of Requiem for a Dream. It’s frenetic and daunting in places and very, very haunting. One of the side lines comes from a man named Hakan, who lives with Eli. Hakan. Is. Grotesque. I do not like him. I did not like reading him. In fact, every time he came onto the page I was knocked out of the book. Viscerally knocked out. If I tell you why it would ruin a major plot in the book. So I won’t. Just, trust me. He’s a creepy, bloody, character. I did not enjoy reading him. I wanted him to be out of this book. He ruined a good chunk of the story for me.
That said, the relationship between Oskar and Eli saves the book. It’s sweet and tender while in tandem remains frightening. You never know what is going to happen. If it was just concentrated on them (as I am told the Swedish film is) I would have loved it and it would have been a 5 star book. But, the constancy of Hakan’s presence in the book drags it down to a 2. I hated him. So much. Considering that, I’ll give the book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It’s nothing I would ever pick up again (I don’t really need to, the images are burned in my brain). However, I will be seeing the movie, at least the Swedish one. The American version looks wah-wah, even with the inclusion of Chloe Moretz.
yeah. 3.5 out of 5 stars. Sounds right. If you want something really effing creepy this would probably do it.
– Follow the Reader –