(This is the copy I own. SO UGLY!)
It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way - even by death - and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.I finally finished the beast that is Dracula. While I didn't complete it by the end of RIP VII, I did manage to finish, and that's really saying something here. I know that most readers have already tackled Stoker's master work, so I was pretty late in jumping on the bandwagon. I also know that most of you guys said you liked it. A lot. I'm a little jealous. And also want some explanations. Because I just didn't get it.
The story is told through the perspectives of four characters in the form of letters and journal entries. J actually stopped me at one point (he attempted but FAILED to finish!) to ask if people seriously took their journals to heart like these folks did. Obviously, we were having a little laugh (because some of these entries just happened to go on for pages and pages and pages), but they had to be this long to tell the story (or did they?!?!). Anyway. The diary entries and phonograph recordings were long-winded and explain the story of, you guessed it, Count Dracula.
Let me also share that I have never seen a movie based on Dracula aside from Interview with the Vampire. I also haven't read any vampire stories (like Twilight) or watched any vampire related shows (I know there are quite the number at present). So. My knowledge of vampires was pretty much pathetic going in. To give you a sense, I only had a vague understanding of what they couldn't be around, you know: light, garlic and religious relics, and thought that Stoker would elucidate. Not so much the case. I still don't know too much about vampires, except that they are considered un-dead, which J explained to me a bit more in depth because I guess these creatures were also apart of his D&D games when he was younger. That's about it though.
So the daring four (actually there are six) face Dracula and then follow him here, there and everywhere. Seriously. If you haven't read it, I can't say much more, because although it's pretty much always DUH moments when a new development presents itself, saying too much would spoil the fun. So I'll leave it at that.
BEWARE! SPOILERS BELOW!
Let's talk about the fact that there was so much superfluous content to wade through.
Let's also talk about the fact that everything was obvious. So in your face obvious that I questioned the competence of the characters.
Women were also delicate flowers that needed protecting even though Mina Harker proved to be the smartest character of all. And don't give me that it's Victorian lit and it can't be done. *Brushes shoulders* and cites Wilkie "the bad ass" Collins. Yeah. (This fact didn't really bother me because I get the time period, but it did get me when male characters went ON AND ON AND ON about how women basically couldn't handle the situation YET completely controlled the situation.)
Van Helsing. What was up with that guy? And how did he know so much about the undead? And how did Jonathan Harker know him so well? Perhaps Stoker addresses this last question but I can't remember.
What I did enjoy:
Stoker created a very spooky atmosphere. The first 25 pages were the most thrilling of the entire work. Dracula's castle was creeptastic and wonderful. Jonathan visiting the basement took some real guts.
I enjoyed the fantasy element with the creation of Dracula and his ability to transform into objects and animals in order to do his bidding.
Otherwise, it just wasn't the book for me. I'm glad I read it and can add it to the list of books read for the Classics Club challenge I signed up for back in August.
Note: Today marks Bram Stoker's 165th birthday. Check out today's Google doodle!