Kemper's Reviews > Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
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Oct 27, 10

bookshelves: scandinavian-mayhem, horror, vampires
Read in January, 2010

After watching the Swedish movie this book is based on, I thought it was an intensely creepy film and promptly got the book to check out the full story. I figured that the planned American film version would be a pale shadow of the original because there’s no way that a Hollywood movie studio is going to show that messed up tale in it’s original form to audiences in the U.S. Little did I know that even the Swedish producers didn’t have the collective nutsack to give us the full story on how goddamn twisted the book is.

Set in the early ‘80s, it features a 12 year old boy named Oskar whose alcoholic father and overprotective mother are divorced. Oskar is an outcast and is badly bullied by other kids in his class, and he’s developing a pretty good case of homicidal rage because of it. In fact, he’s well on his way to becoming the kind of guy who dances around his basement while screaming at his latest victim to put the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.

Before Oskar completely turns into Buffalo Bill, he meets Eli, a deadly vampire who appears to be a 12 year old girl. Oskar and Eli strike up an unlikely friendship that’s almost a pre-adolescent romance, but things are going off the rails around them. Eli’s version of Renfield is a creepy pedophile who is jealous of their relationship and can’t be counted on to keep Eli supplied with fresh blood. When Eli’s need for food makes her sloppy, the results are victims and traces that threaten to reveal her. Juvenile delinquents, Swedish alcoholics, a strict cop, a jar of acid and a herd of cats all collide in a variety of terrible ways.

This is a gloriously gruesome and disturbing horror novel that would probably cause Stephanie Meyer to have a stroke if she ever even dared to hold a copy of it in her hackish little hands. Like the best horror novels, the gore and monsters aren’t the scary parts, it’s the way that the ’normal’ people treat each other that will really haunt you.
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy A herd of cats?


Kemper Nancy wrote: "A herd of cats?"

Yes, a herd of cats. No lie.


message 3: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda This was already on my "to read" radar, but I think I'm bumping up its priority as I'm automatically a fan of anything that will give Stephenie Meyer a stroke.


Kemper Amanda wrote: "This was already on my "to read" radar, but I think I'm bumping up its priority as I'm automatically a fan of anything that will give Stephenie Meyer a stroke. "

Enjoy, but beware. It was great but rated a full '10' on the Disturb-O-Meter.


ClaireHuxtable The American movie was horrible. It really did a disservice to the book and the fans who loved it.


Miriam Dude, don't give the Meyer ideas.


Kemper Miriam wrote: "Dude, don't give the Meyer ideas."

I actually hope she picks up a copy so she can see what a real vampire book looks like.


message 8: by Bridget (new)

Bridget I really liked the Swedish movie & thought the American version was okay, but you've inspired me to give the book a read. The books are always better. Thanks for the great review.


Kemper Bridget wrote: "I really liked the Swedish movie & thought the American version was okay, but you've inspired me to give the book a read. The books are always better. Thanks for the great review."

Thanks. I loved the Swedish one and it was pretty close to the book's level of quality. Still haven't seen the American version yet.


message 10: by Trudi (new)

Trudi This is a great review Kemper! I particularly like the reference to Buffalo Bill :)


Kemper Trudi wrote: "This is a great review Kemper! I particularly like the reference to Buffalo Bill :)"

Thanks! I like to work in Silence of the Lambs references whenever possible. For giggles...


Joanna Wagner I couldn't agree more with you with the exception of the ommision of the part about, Håkan, the "uncle". Had they developed the character and his excapades as a revenant the movie would have run at least 3 hours which is death for marketing a horror movie. The heart of the book is the relationship between Oskar and Eli so Håkan wound up on the cutting room floor. There is a brief indication at the end of the hospital fall that he's not completely dead.


message 13: by Evelyn (new)

Evelyn I would like to add my strong appreciation for the American version of the movie made from this book. I am not normally a fan of horror movies, but the characters, tone, and atmosphere of this movie were compelling. The true horror is the awareness at the seemingly happy ending of what this little boy's future will be. The American movie version of this book received very high critical acclaim with the majority agreeing it stood on its own with the Swedish version and shouldn't be missed. They are two different movies each bringing something different to the table. I, for one, would have been turned off by the vampire's partner being a pedophile and agree with the American version that it was not essential to the story and so could be omitted. Further, I am glad the boy was portrayed more vulnerable and not as extremely twisted as in the book. I felt compassion for his plight and McPhee's portrayal of the boy totally absorbed me to where I was all at once happy for the mutual friendship created and horrified when looking into his future as he sat on that train.


Miles Zarathustra The Swedish film is better, but the American one is still worth watching.


Anaheli I want to read this book, which translation do you recommend?


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