Saturday, July 20, 2013

Books in 2013: #16 Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Just a warning: we're heading into a long run of books that I absolutely LOVED. Starting with Let the Right One In.

Years ago, I saw the Swedish film that was based on this book, about a young boy living in a Swedish town who discovers a young girl who seems much older than she appears, who has a strange smell, and who likes him, but keeps her distance. And the older man who lives with her, but who doesn't appear to be a father figure. The movie was fantastic: harsh, cold, the story of a vampire who finds no joy in her existence, who uses the older man to obtain food for her while encouraging and teasing his pedophilic tendencies. Twilight, this was not.

I immediately asked for the book for my birthday, which was around the corner, and my brother bought it for me. And then, like I usually do, I put it on the shelf, determined to read it IMMEDIATELY.

Immediately turned into several years, and after having to read the entire Twilight series last year for an academic paper, and revisiting Buffy two years ago through the Rewatch, and discovering Vampire Diaries, and tiring of True Blood, and rereading my 30 Days of Night graphic novel, it was time to read this. And wow... it's easily my favourite vampire book of all time.

I don't want to say too much, but if you've seen the Swedish film it's an excellent adaptation of the book. Some characters are more major in the book than in the movie, and they alter a few storylines, but as I read it, the movie started coming back to me more and more. I haven't seen the American version, although I've heard it's quite good. My only beef with that (not having seen it) is that they changed the title to the more banal Let Me In. The actual title, as the author shows in an epigraph near the end, comes from a Morrissey song, which eerily explains why he titled the book the way he did

Let the right one in Let the old dreams die Let the wrong ones go They cannot They cannot They cannot do what you want them to do 

By changing it, you remove that reference, which is unfortunate.

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading this book, please do so. It's incredible, thrilling, suspenseful, and a quick page-turner. And the best, harshest vampire story I've ever read.


Sagacious Penguin said...

Check out the American film too, Nikki! It's one of those remakes that reminds us why remakes aren't always a bad thing (I mean, thank goodness people keep doing Shakespeare, right?).

It's beautiful in many of the same ways as the original, has some excellent performances, and a great Giacchino score. There are actually some things I like about it better than the original -- though there are of course things in the original I like better as well. I'm quite happy both were made. In my opinion you can never have enough heartfelt takes on a good story :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Fantastic! I'll definitely check it out. I've certainly been meaning to. I had it on our DVR for a while and then it disappeared, so I'll have to get it again. :)

C.T. said...

The author wrote a collection of short stories titled "Let the Old Dreams Die" where he writes a disappointingly brief followup to "Let the Right One in". Is there any chance you could post a "WARNING: SPOILERS" article where we could discuss the elements of the book that didn't make it into the films?

Nikki Stafford said...

CT: What we could do is discuss it here in the comments, but put SPOILERS before each part of the discussion so anyone reading will avoid them. :) That's what we did on a recent post.

mike28212 said...

I have had this on my shelf for a while. After reading your comments about it, I plan on reading it next. I am trying to do the 25 books in 2013 but am only on number eight. I have picked up the pace lately so there is still hope.

Nikki Stafford said...

I'm rootin' for you, Mike! And let me know when you've read it. :)

mike28212 said...

Thanks for the encouragement! I'm almost finished with my current book so I should be starting Let the Right One In within the next day or two.

mike28212 said...

Nikki: I finished reading Let the Right One In today. I thought it was great. It did take me a bit to get into it. Once I did, I plowed right through until the end. I will have to check out both film versions now. Thanks for the recommendation!