Book Thoughts: I am Legend

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I had a nightmare about this book last night. Not fun.

In a world of monotonous horror there could be no salvation in wild dreaming.

Don’t make the mistake I did and walk into I am Legend expecting it to be anything like the film staring Will Smith. I know that as a general rule books and movies are different, yet I couldn’t get that image out of my head. Let’s just say the movie took some liberties. Now on to the Book Review.

As far as he knows, Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth. A world wide plague has struck the world turning humans into vampiric like species. Robert lost his entire family to the plague, and now he lives his life haunted and in extreme loneliness as he hunts vampires while simultaneously attempts to discover a cure for them.

The first half of the book caught my interest although its very scientific and well science is not my subject, so many of it went right over my head. The second half was much more philosophical, and had a little action. However, Robert spends the entirety of the book reflecting on his life leading up to the plague, alternating between monologues and flashbacks.

I feel for Robert I really do, he has lost everyone he cares about,and lives with an extreme loneliness that causes him to turn to whiskey every night. He tried to retain any semblance of humanity by constructing rules for himself and chastising himself when needed. Patience, he told himself. Get yourself at least one virtue, anyway

He is so starved for interaction from anyone even animals. That being said he did not grow on me as I suspected he would. I understood where he was coming from, but felt the execution of some of his ideas left a a lot to be desired. He came across as highly misogynistic and arrogant. I face palmed multiple times.

I think Robert Matheson writes in a way that really gets to you. I had a nightmare about this book! Although I didn’t care for the MC, I cared for the story, it’s haunting and riveting even though for the majority of the book there is only one character. He makes you think you know where the novel is going, then completely stirs you in another direction like that ending. (Did not see it playing out like that) Also, it’s important to keep in mind that I am Legend came out in 1954 before the mass influx of zombies and vampire dramas that play a huge role in our current pop culture, yet you can clearly see the parallels between this book and something like The Walking Dead.

Another fun fact, this book takes place in the suburbs of Los Angeles which is where I live, so I recognized certain streets and landmarks which earned nerd points with me!

Overall, I would recommend this, especially for those of you who enjoy horror.

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9 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: I am Legend

  1. I really liked this book, so of course I was disappointed by the film adaptation. It’s as if they totally lost the idea of what the point of Matheson calling it I Am Legend was about and the frightening outcome at the end.

    • I totally agree. I did enjoy the film, but I saw it before I read the book. By itself I think it isn’t a bad film, but as an adaption of a book, it was one of the worst I’ve seen.

      • yeah, I actually was enjoying the movie as much as I could divorce it from the original novel (don’t we always say: the book was better), but anywho, I just couldn’t get over that ending.

        Glad you enjoyed the book, though! Matheson was a great writer and I think this is one of my favorites.

      • Thanks! I though he was a great writer as well, and I have the edition that has short stories in the back, so I plan on getting to them soon.

  2. I really like this book, but it took me a couple of tries to get through it even though it isn’t very long. Maybe it’s the datedness of the protagonist. I haven’t seen the movie. Would you say it’s worth watching, even if you’ve read the book?

    • I know what you mean. It took a few tries for me to finally get into the story.The movie is actually really good in my opinion, so yes I would say watch it, but just go into it knowing they took a lot of liberties with it.

  3. Dear Bibliosa,

    Here is an excerpt from my blog http://www.ink2quill.com

    “The ending of the story is unpredictable and fantastic. It is not the happy Hollywood ending to the story of the brave and capable hero. It is not a story about a savior to humanity either. It is the story of the final months of one species and the birth of a new one. It is not the story of a beautiful transformation in the human species like that of a moth to a butterfly. It is the story of two life forms pushing a third out of existence. The vampiris bacillus infected people annihilate the uninfected and take over. Needless to say, I always felt he was so close to a cure.” (excerpt from I2Q)

    I think you have to keep in mind that Robert Neville is breaking psychologically from the stress of what is happening. I think that he partly blames his wife for leaving him and in his degrading condition I understand why even though I don´t agree.

    Robert Neville is like the last Spartan at the battle of Thermopylae. He struggles to the end and eventually falls.

    I enjoy your blog because of your original ideas.

    I2Q

    • I agree with everything you wrote. This is why I found the book so haunting. To be the last one standing at anything has never appealed to me, let alone be the last human alive. Great analysis.

      And thank you:)

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