Saturday, November 27, 2010
Book Review--Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Grahame-Smith, Seth. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Grand Central Publishing, New York, New York. 2010. 336 pages, b/w illustrations. ISBN 9780446563086, $21.99.
It was really only a matter of time I suppose before somebody happened upon new information regarding the life of Abraham Lincoln. I suppose we all thought it would be someone like Harold Holzer or Michael Burlingame. Little did we know it would be Seth Grahame-Smith the fiction writer. Somehow Smith was chosen by a stranger to be the recipient of a package of previously unknown writings from Lincoln. These writings came in the form of a diary titled the Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln. Here we gain insight into the true Lincoln and the events that helped shape him and ultimately our nation. The beloved emancipator was actually a blood thirsty vampire hunter.
Forget everything you know about Lincoln and his legend, it is all wrong. Almost all the sorrow and sadness in Lincoln's life is due to vampires. His beloved mother did not die from illness but was rather taken as payment for a debt owed by his father Thomas Lincoln. Ann Rutledge--vampire victim. You get the picture. Lincoln is befriended by a mysterious character (i.e. vampire) by the name of Henry who helped save his life during an early encounter with another vampire. Henry helps guide the young Lincoln and kept him on the trail of vampires throughout his life.
Throughout the book we meet many people including Edgar Allen Poe, Martin Luther King Jr., John Wilkes Booth (of course), Stephen A. Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and others. Are these characters vampires? Is Abraham Lincoln himself a vampire and still amongst us today? You'll have to read the book and find out. As you read the book be sure to check out the b/w illustrations. Are they the real thing and have we been fooled all these years? You judge.
There are two ways to look at this work. The first is to read it and get upset with the liberties that Grahame-Smith has taken with known fact. It's obvious that he has done a certain amount of research in order to write this book. He does play loosely with fact however and that can be dangerous. We live in a world where many people feel if something is printed it must be fact. As serious readers we know that to be false and that leads me to the second way to look at this book and that is the way I choose to view it. It's a work of fiction. Of course the author has to play loose with the facts. We all know vampires do not really exist. Have you ever met one? Has anybody you know ever met one? That's what I thought. That said just read this as a work of fiction. In that realm this is a pretty good book. It moves along well and kept this reader entertained.
Far-fetched? Yes. A decent enough read when you don't want anything too serious? Absolutely!