This book was probably meant to take place in the future; however, since the book was written in the 1950’s, it likely took place somewhere in the 2000’s. The main, and only (most of the time) character was a man named Robert Neville.
Neville was living alone when the book started, only being about three months or so since the infection hit everyone officially, killing his wife, Virginia, and daughter, Kathy. It wasn’t really known what the infection was, but Neville soon finds out that it causes everyone infected to turn into vampires—not the sparkly, glamorous kind, but rather, the kind that’s afraid of garlic and crosses (depending on their religion before being infected).
Every night he makes sure that everything is secured, and that his windows and doors were boarded up. The vampires sleep during the day and come out at night.
He doesn’t know for sure, but he’s pretty sure that he’s the only human left.
I got this book on sale at one of the local used bookstores. Due to the misleading name, I had thought that the story itself was 300 pages itself—an intimidating number, however, that’s pretty average for a length of a novel nowadays. What I didn’t know was that I Am Legend is actually a novella, and I had bought almost an anthology of sorts full of Richard Matheson’s works. This isn’t to say that I’m disappointed, however, the book ended a lot sooner than I thought it would, being as by the time I was finished, I still had about 150 pages left. Needless to say, I was a little bit beside myself because I didn’t see the ending coming, literally.
That being said, I think this was actually a pretty good book. I was impressed because on the back, Stephen King said, “Books like I Am Legend were an inspiration to me.” Not that I really much care about what Stephen King has to say (his writing style just isn’t my thing. It’s not that he isn’t a good writer, but when you hate someone’s writing style it becomes too overly distracting and takes away from the plot immensely), however, he’s a popular writer, therefore he’s to be trusted.
I’ve literally just noticed that almost all of the books I’ve reviewed have been books that turned into movies, and for that I apologize; I will try to come up with some more obscure titles to read at some point.
Regardless, I was impressed with the story. It was almost like a horror novella, which is pretty cool. I could see it all played out in my head, being as Matheson knows how to use words to his advantage, not just adding in fluffy sentences (probably like what I’m unintentionally doing right now). It was actually maddening to see the progression of the plot and how things are handled.
You feel the loneliness that Neville feels. You feel the anger that Neville feels. And sometimes, you feel scared like Neville feels. He’s a relatable character. Although we aren’t living in a world ravaged by vampires, we’ve all felt the loneliness that Neville feels throughout the entire novella. He’s a character you want to root for, despite his drinking and anger problems.
If only the world were full of people like Neville. He was diligent and persistent, and taught himself things that he had no prior knowledge of, such as learning how to collect, analyze and interpret germs. I think everyone has the capability to be like him, just not the motivation.
This book is pretty decent, however, the only thing I have a problem with is the fact that the ending snuck up on me. Not just in terms of it actually doing so, but I just didn’t think the book should have ended as soon as it did. There was so much that could have happened, but just didn’t. And then it ended.
It’s a quick read. While it isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, it’s something worth spending the time to read.
What I liked: Robert Neville.
What I didn’t like: Being blindsided by the ending.