I am Legend – Richard Matheson

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This is a book that I had picked up in a charity shop last year and read it at the time but it recently took my fancy again so I decided to re-read it as I enjoyed it so much.

 

It was not the cover of this book that grabbed me by any stretch of the imagination but the simplicity of the design masks the story held within, lulling people into the belief that the story is not going to be very good.

 

The main reason that I love this book is that it combines Vampirism with the idea of micro-biology (a subject that I studied in college which I feel helped me with some of the more science based scenes). It is always a supernatural occurrence that allows for the presence of vampires in most books but this one took it further with the idea that it is merely a disease, a bacterium, that has created the worldwide pandemic.

 

I had previously seen the film that is based upon this book but, in my mind, the book is entirely different from the movie – the primary difference that struck me being the main character, a Germanic man, standing very tall, with blond hair, and a long beard, not a description that brings Will Smith to mind but with the multitude of other differences, I feel as though this is the least of my worries.

 

I love the way that you seem to be sucked into his life, told about the monotony of his daily tasks like replacing wooden boards, stringing up garlic cloves, and then listening to classical music to try and avoid the temptations to open the door and walk out. The author then throws you into the excitement that he feels when he discovers the bacteria that is causing it and takes you through the process of his trying to obtain a microscope to research it further.

 

While there are a few other characters mentioned throughout, or brought into the story, there are none that are as developed as the main character but I guess this is to be expected of a novel. A dystopian novel allowing the author the opportunity to just develop the one character in its entirety while leaving the others in the background.

It took me around a day and a half to finish as I was reading it on a coach for 6 hours and then on my way to work the following day but my first read through was done by the evening of the day that I brought it. I am Legend would certainly not take up a lot of your day to read it but it could add so much more, perhaps even a desire to research the scientific terms that you are not already familiar with…

 

Below is my favourite quote from the book all about men and their laziness, which is made all the better by the fact that the book was written by a man.

He knew he should burn up the paper plates and utensils too, and dust the furniture and wash out the sinks and the bathtub and toilet, and change the sheets and pillowcase on his bed: but he didn’t feel like it. For he was a man and he was alone and these things had no importance to him.

The ending of this book is a “full circle” with the human that once considered vampires a myth and a monster of the night, becoming the monster under the bed for the new race of humans – vampires. Finishing any book with the title is iconic but it is an absolutely perfect ending for this particular book.


5 out of 5 stars


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I am Legend.

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