OK, I admit, I went and purchased this book because I liked the movie. I had been warned by several friends to expect something very different.
I wOK, I admit, I went and purchased this book because I liked the movie. I had been warned by several friends to expect something very different.
I wasn't aware of this when I purchased the book, but I am Legend is actually a novella. The book itself is a novella and several short stories. I'm going to take on both separately, because I can't do a fair review with them all together.
The novella is excellent. I really enjoyed it. There were some flaws in rationale, and parts of it are seriously out-dated, but for the most part, it was a good bedtime read. It flowed very well, kept you interested, and was not predictable.
It is worth it to compare the novella and the movie. The movie was based on the concept of the novella. There's really no relation between the two other than the concept and the main character's name. If you're expecting to read a more in-depth version of the movie, you'll either be enthralled (as I was) or totally disappointed... as the two have no relation to each other.
After really enjoying "I am Legend" I started biting into the short stories, and found that I just couldn't enjoy them. They were painfully juvenile. They mirrored many of the stuff I wrote in high school, in style, cadence and theme, and I'll admit, perhaps its a bit of self-loathing that made me put the book down. I just couldn't get into the short stories, it was just too easy for me to predict how each would end.
This is worth reading. I wouldn't recommend going out and spending a ton of money on it, perhaps a good library read, or used paperback, but it is a very unique and original story (unlike the short stories) that's worth the time....more
(edited from a paper I wrote in college about the book)
In 1986, when Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale, Ronald Regan had declared “Morning(edited from a paper I wrote in college about the book)
In 1986, when Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale, Ronald Regan had declared “Morning in America,” and society was going to renew itself by returning to the old values. The Christian right, in its infancy at the time, was rising in reaction to the Free Love, and the horrors of AIDs. The 1984 election gave us Willie Horton, and a reminder about how violent and evil society had become. Finally, even though Chernobyl happened shortly after the book was published, the Union Carbide disaster in Bopal, India was still fresh in the headlines—a reminder that even the air is not safe. It was not hard at the time to extrapolate the ultimate end that this cocktail of fundamentalism, conservatism, violence, disease, and disaster would bring, but what Atwood could not know, is how much of her novel would become reality in the world.
Amazingly, twenty years after it was written, there are elements of the story that have become true—perhaps not in the United States, where the story takes place, but throughout the world. The most obvious first connection is with many of the issues regarding women’s rights and religious fundamentalism that are taking place in the Middle East. It was shocking to read in the book that the initial attack on the US Government was blamed on Islamic Fundamentalists, though the story was written after the Lockerbie Pan Am bombing, and the massacre at the Rome airport. While this kind of terrorism was only in its infancy, Atwood’s insight is almost prophetic in the book. When the Murrah building in Oklahoma City was bombed, the initial reaction by the media was to blame Islamic terrorists, when in fact—like the novel—the terrorism was homegrown. The scale of the attack that took out the US Government in the novel is also eerily similar to the attacks of September 11, 2001. Reading this novel in the post-9/11 world can send chills down one’s spine: the novel includes suicide bombings at checkpoints, restrictions of rights in the name of safety, blind patriotism, and an overwhelming belief that there is only one true religion, and deviants from this should be killed.
While George Orwell’s 1984 is often referred to as an insightful perspective on modern society whenever someone puts a video camera on a street lamp, or the government begins referring to negative events with positive doublespeak. Orwell’s world never materialized in full, and likely never will materialize to the degree he created. Instead it is Atwood’s distopia, seemingly outrageous at the time it was written, that became reality. This novel should serve as a cautionary warning about the result of any extremist view taken to its logical conclusion—the Taliban is proof that society cannot dismiss the notions of this book as outrageous and extreme. They have proven in the last decade, a plausible end to the error of letting fundamentalism in any form guide one’s society.