Let Me In
John Ajvide Lindqvist
I was encouraged to read this novel, a translation of a Swedish novel, by my son who bought it in Canada because, for him, it was the best ‘vampire’ novel that he had read.
If the only times that you have encountered vampires are through the ‘Twilight’ series, or horror movies, then you will find this novel totally different. There is not an Edward/Bella type romance. There is no Dracula figure entering through windows to suck the blood of beautiful women.
What you have in this novel is crime, social commentary, school life, parental issues, alcoholism and cats – but no kick-arse heroine. Instead, you have Oskar, a boy who is bullied relentlessly at school and finds refuge in creating a scrapbook about murder. When he meets Eli who has just moved next door, he not only finds her dirty, weird and slightly smelly, but she is also like no one that he has ever met before – and there’s a good reason for that. Oskar and Eli are engrossing characters and I found myself becoming more involved in their story than the story of the adults in the novel. There are some horrific scenes, the cruelty of children is without bounds – these children are not innocent. The cat scenes are also disturbing and will cause every dog lover to wonder why anyone would ever want to own a cat.
John Ajvide Lindqvist’s story is that of a very unique friendship between Oskar and Eli and his writing is quite poetic at times, even when describing violence; at times there is even beauty. However, it is not sentimental. These children have been left to fend for themselves – the adults are dysfunctional and distant – and just because they are young and vulnerable, it does not prevent them from being violent. But here is a novel that, although violent and dark, is full of beauty and is eerie rather than scary.
A terrific read.