No, I'm not dead. Not yet at least.
Well, it was only a matter of time before something came along that either impressed me greatly, or irritated the hell out of me – and then I'd feel inspired to write about it.
In this case, it's a book. And I'm writing a non-book review, because I've managed to only get halfway through it before deciding it's a complete piece of shite. I pushed myself to get this far, only because I hate leaving a book unfinished. I may yet finish it; but doubt I'll enjoy it.
I purchased Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist because of a positive review I read on RevolutionSF. (This was originally titled Let The Right One In, and was made into a movie in Sweden).
Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk reviewers gave it rave reviews. Things like :
“Oooh it's so EDGY!”
“It's so disturbing you won't be able to put it down!”
“It's not like any other vampire novels!”
The few that did not give it 4 or 5 stars, seemed mostly bothered that the story meandered around and didn't go anywhere and that a lot of material could have been cut; thus creating a much smaller volume (This book is over 450 pages in length).
I agree wholeheartedly with those reviewers - the story could have used a good slashing of it's own content. However this alone isn't enough to make me walk away from a book (I've muddled through many a boring tome).
What killed this story for me was that it certainly wasn't like any other vampire novel I've ever read. Or, any other novel I've ever read, for that matter. This isn't “edgy”, unless you happen like reading about “Peter Files” [sic].
I fully understand that in purchasing a book, you never truly know what you'll get. Reviews are not comprehensive, and something that one person would like, others may not. However, out of 30+ reviews, only a few people alluded the book's child abuse/murder and “Peter File” [sic] character.
To the rave reviewers, this is apparently “edgy” and titillating. Or just plain below their radar maybe? Not important enough to be mentioned? It's a sad world where we're that desensitized to such violence. I found it deeply disgusting, and it would seem I'm the only one.
Why is this titillating? It shouldn't be. It's not as if this is a book educating one about the dangers of “Peter Files” [sic], it's using this as character development. Lindqvist paints this character as though we should pity him. It felt like a deliberate attempt at raising a sensation. Sorry, there's still some of us with a sense of decorum, and that just doesn't fly.
I do, however, highly recommend Theodore Dalrymple's Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses.
In his book, Mr. Dalrymple takes aim at many of the things that are contributing to the disintegration of our society. He has an excellent chapter called “Trash, Violence and Versace: But Is It Art?", which really says it all better than I ever could.
NOTE: I must give credit for the term “Peter File” to Graham Linehan and his television show the IT Crowd.
UPDATE 03/04/2009: I finished the book. My opinion has not changed. Not an entirely bad plot, however it could've been done without the "Peter File".