This past Saturday, I finished reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time. I chose to read it for a couple reasons. I’ve been in a classic kick lately, and it’s one I had not read. Furthermore, I was in the mood for a spooky book, and this seemed like a good fit. Needless to say, I’m glad I finally read it.
Now, I’m not going to give a synopsis because I believe most of my blog readers are familiar with the general premise of the book. I’m simply going to list (of course) what I enjoyed about it and my biggest pet peeve throughout the latter half of it.
What I Enjoyed
Journal Entry Writing Style: The story unfolds by the journal entries and/or letters of several of the main characters. I really enjoyed this because it switched viewpoints almost seamlessly while allowing me to get to know the characters individually.
Van Helsing: He is a multi-dimensional, intelligent character. Besides, he’s super cool.
Mina Harker: She is a strong female character. Or, at least, she had the potential to be. More on this in my pet peeve.
Lack of sexuality: Vampires have been overly sexualized in our culture. This story painted them as what they are: soulless monsters. There was nothing sexual about Dracula’s need to feed. It was evil and animalistic.
My Pet Peeve
In the first half of the story, Mina Harker helps her masculine counterparts discover the reason for her best friend’s illness and the secret of Dracula. Then, when it comes time to hunt the monster, the men leave her behind to protect her feminine sensibilities from the gruesome task ahead of them. They leave her unattended and without any means of protection in an INSANE ASYLUM NEXT DOOR TO DRACULA’S HIDEOUT! Really, guys? REALLY? And then, it takes them awhile to figure out why she wants to sleep all the time and doesn’t act like her usual self. They didn’t even think to check for bite marks when she first fell ill.
When they finally do discover that Dracula attacked Mina, they can’t figure out why or how it happened. They never once admit that they are at fault for leaving her vulnerable to him. I literally want to shake each one of them and say, “Ya Dodo Birds! It’s your fault Mina has to suffer! You couldn’t handle a female as strong as you!” There. Rant over. (Sean suffered through this ranting all weekend.)
Despite my aggravation with the treatment of Mina’s character, I enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it to classic or horror story fans. However, if you ever feel inclined to watch the movie (the 1992 version) in lieu of reading the book, don’t. Just don’t. (That is another rant within itself.) Read the book instead.
Until the next post . . . keep smiling!