Friday, April 13, 2012

Grumpy Book Club: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the previous choice for my evening book club, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  Unfortunately, the people who pushed for it couldn't come, and all the present members disliked it. I had gotten it both in print and for the NOOK to try to entice myself into finishing it, but there was a lot of skimming at the end. This was actually last months book, but I procrastinated writing it up. We spent a little time tonight complaining about it again :-)

I know Grahame-Smith wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I have no desire to read, but I understand he stretched out Jane Austin's book but inserting in additional scenes with zombie fighting. In this book, there is a pretend journal that Lincoln supposedly kept and which a vampire forces some hapless New England shopkeeper to turn into a book (while ruining his life, but who cares -- after the prologue we don't return to this now unemployed, divorced, friendless victim). For some reason this failed novelist keeps inserting paragraphs from this journal into the text, which from a reader's perspective seems pointless since the whole thing is made up, so why we need a separate font for made-up diary entries escapes me. I learned nothing new about slavery or abolitionism, and I know now less about Lincoln than I did at the beginning, since I don't know what bits are real and what are made up, and now everything I know about Lincoln's biography is now suspect because I can't remember what I got from this book and what I got from something actually real.

The story might have gotten more interesting at the end, when Lincoln's vampire friend apparently turned him into a fellow vampire and they went off to fight for justice together, but that's when the book cut off, perhaps because Grahame-Smith doesn't like to write his own plot. Without the skeleton of someone else's story maybe he doesn't like to play with his characters. I think I'll stick to originals, though: I've moved a real biography of Lincoln higher on my TBR piles.

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