Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let Me In

Let Me In is a vampire novel by Swedish Author John Ajvide Lindqvist.  It is the source material for both the Swedish Film, Let the Right One In, and the American adaptation, Let Me In.

I have seen the film, Let the Right one in and that may shade my review.  I have not seen the American version yet. 

This was an excellent book.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It was read as part of a book club and everyone else liked it.  That is pretty rare that a book gets universal acclaim at this book club.  The characters are complex and the story is great. 

This book is about a young boy (Oskar) that is picked on at school, doesn't have many friends, and is pretty lonely. That is until Eli moves into his building.  He only sees her at night and she is super strange.  She is a vampire.  She doesn't want to eat Oskar, but only be his friend. 

Sound heartwarming?  Well, it isn't.  The book is filled with enough murder and violence that it becomes clear that these two have become attached as a sort of survival mechanism. 

Viewers of the Swedish film, like myself, had one major part of the book left out to us.  That being Eli's origin story and the revelation that leads to for Oskar.  That said, the Swedish film does a really good job and nailed the casting on both Oskar and Eli. 

Thematically the book seems to be about friendship, parent child relationships, bullying, and pedephilia.  The setting of early 80s Sweden is very affective as it is almost devoid of hope.  You and up rooting for Eli, a character that lives off of the blood of others, unsympathetically. 

I can see why this novel has spawned two movies and is an international best seller.  It was excellent.  The only draw back for me was the pacing was a little slow at points, but that may have been due to me seeing the film first and looking for certain things to happen. 

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good book to read.  Violence and sexuality would limit it to more mature readers.  You do not have to be a fan of vampires to enjoy this, but you may need a strong  stomach. 

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TS Hendrik said...

I did like the book but this is one of the rare instances where I think the movie was actually better. Good review.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not read the book - just saw the original film version. Someone said Eli is actually a boy? Is that true?

Budd said...


Eli is in fact a boy or was a boy a long time ago.