Y’all, I was into vampires in high school and college. Well, into a lot of fantasy and paranormal stuff, really, but I really enjoyed vampires in particular. I ended up taking a class called Vampires and Voodoo when I was a freshman in college, which no one believes, but it actually ended up being a lot of fun.
Despite all that, I hadn’t ever read the granddaddy of vampire literature: Dracula by Bram Stoker. I’d seen the 1992 movie, which I rather like, but I’d never made the time to read the book.
Now that I have, I can honestly say I almost wish I hadn’t.
A Classic I Loathe:
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I knew it was an epistolary novel, told through letters, journal entries, interviews, and magazine articles, which is a difficult structure to get into, but it kind of worked for what he was going for. The beginning of the book, with Jonathan Harker recording what was happening to him in Dracula’s castle, was delightfully creepy, if uneven. The parts in Mina’s POV were slow, the pages of dialect were annoying as hell, but all of that, all of that, I could tolerate. Maybe not love, but tolerate.
Where the book lost me was 60% of the way through, when, to borrow a quote from my previous review of this thing, every single freaking character was “hit with Sudden Onset Temporary Dumbass Syndrome.”
Normally I can forgive this kind of thing if the reader knows something the characters don’t, that the characters couldn’t possibly know or guess. But they actually make a point in the story of saying that all the characters have read everything up to that point, which means they know everything that the reader does. And yet none of them, not a one of them, went, “Hey, so, this is really similar to something that just happened to all of us recently. Do you think it could be happening again?”
It made me so mad that I had to put my Kindle down before I threw the damn thing across the room, and it was months before I could finally finish reading it, because every time I started to, I got angry again at how stupid all the characters were being.
As I said previously, there are a lot of things I can tolerate in a book, and there are a lot of things I’m willing to suspend disbelief for. But when literally all of the “good” characters in the book are too stupid to live? No. Done. You’ve lost me. Screw that noise; I’m rooting for the vampire to eat you all.
A Classic I Will Never Read: Just about anything by Hemingway
I’ve read The Old Man and the Sea, thanks to an eighth-grade English class, and that was enough for me. Frankly, there are loads of other better writers out there who are far less outstandingly sexist, and I’d really rather not waste my time.