I am an avid reader. However, getting lost in the labyrinth of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s mind in the novel “Let the Right One In” was a terrifying experience that I never want to relive.
The world is rife with supernatural romance novels. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is proof that teenage girls will line up in droves to read about sparkling, muscular men saving damsels in distress, even if there is little in the way of actual character development or substance. Written in 2004, “Let the Right One In” focuses on the dark, twisted and overall sad creatures vampires truly are.
Taking place in Blackeberg in the 1980s, the story focuses primarily on Oskar. Oskar is a 12-year-old boy with an absent, alcoholic father and reasonable but tired mother.
Oskar is awkward, and his awkwardness of course leads to him being bullied by other students. The vampire in the story is Eli. She is gaunt, has been “12-years-old for a very long time,” with black hair and a harsh voice. She smells funny when she hasn’t fed and lives with Hakan, a pedophile who murders in exchange for being able to touch her face.
Starting to see why this setup is so chilling? You come to sympathize with Oskar and his fetish for plunging knives into things. Eli is a murderer, tearing people limb from limb, greedily draining blood and despising those who are not useful to her. Watching the parasitic relationship between Eli and Oskar grow is almost sick.
Every sentence, every scene, every instance of sexual deviance and reference to pedophilia is explained in graphic detail.
From the opening scene, to how main character Oskar (not Owen) deals with his bladder problems, to Eli’s (not Abby’s) not so clear gender, everything is laid out for the reader.
Forgo the movies if you can and pick up the source material. It disturbs in just about every way and, although it tends to drag in certain areas, it is an unforgettable experience.