Let the Right One In (novel)

I started reading Let the Right One In because I was curious about the parts of the story that were left out of the movie. There were issues which were only hinted at in the movie and I wondered if they were more spelled out in the book. They were.

It’s difficult to describe this book. It’s easy to say it’s a vampire book, but the vampire mythos is only part of the story. Isolation and helplessness are main the themes in the story; the author uses the vampire as a way to show a different form of isolation.

In the beginning, the book is hard to follow. Sections jump from one character to another and there isn’t always one consistent, omniscient narrator. As I read more and more of the story and the characters started to develop, it was easier to follow the jump from one character to another. Think of it as looking into a cross-section of a dollhouse; each room has something going on in it distinct from the next room, but they all tie in together in one house. That’s how each character’s story interacts with the others.

One of the quotations in the back of the book has someone calling Let the Right One In a horror story. It might be because I watched the movie first and knew the general plot, but I didn’t read it as a horror story at all. Yes, there is violence, and yes, there were parts that were uncomfortable to read, but I wasn’t ever terrified while I was reading it.

I can see people not liking this book. There are subjects people would rather not think or read about, and the characters all have some negative aspects or depravities to them. It’s hard to relate to any of them but at the same time, I wonder if it’s because we’re scared to relate to any of them.

I don’t really want to spoil the book or the movie for anyone reading this. Let the Right One In was one of my favorite movies this year and the book is also one of my favorites, but I can see it not being for everyone. If you’re in the mood for a different type of vampire book, it’s a good choice. I described the movie as a “coming of age vampire story,” but for some reason, that doesn’t really fit the book. Usually I’m disappointed by movie adaptations of books, but after reading the book, the movie actually followed the story very well, or at least as best it could. The main thing is that the movie had the same mood the book did, if that makes sense.

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