“She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted, and a woman’s heart.”
We all know the story of Dracula, so I don’t feel the need to bother with an introduction to the plot. Boiled down to one sentence: Dracula is about a man who sucks. Do you know what else sucks? This book.
Throughout the endless, meaningless, sometimes riddle-ish, incomprehensible dialogue, my mind drifted away over and over again, and I pondered, “What makes a classic a classic?” Sometimes you read a classic and it’s obvious. It can leave you heartbroken; or it can drastically change your expectations of love as you decide you’ll settle for nothing less in a relationship than a selfish asshole of a man who ends up being a real great guy and rich, and this is why you are still single; or leaves you convinced that everyone around you is a goddamn phony. Sometimes you read a classic and you are dumbfounded. “How has this lived on through the years, nay centuries?” you ask. You think, “But didn’t there used to be wild orgiastic book burnings back in the day? Why wasn’t this added to the pyre?” What kind of beasts are out there recommending this to their friends, passing it down the literary genetic line? The same type of moron people who say, “You’ve got to check out this writer, Jonathan Franzen” is my guess.
This book reminded me a lot of a soap opera – just going on and on with very little content or action. One remedy to edit down this book would have been if Van Helsing had simply told his young protege what was happening from the start. Not only would a death have been avoided, but hours of my life would have been given back to me as well – hours where I felt what it must be like to have the life slowly sucked out of your body, growing weaker and weaker, just wanting to give up. Instead, Van Helsing refuses to tell a soul that there’s a vampire in town. He demands they deduce for themselves what is happening here. And when they can’t guess, he tells them all will be revealed in good time. Now, how in the world would a person who hasn’t even heard of a vampire before come to any sort of conclusion like, “Ahh yes. A vampire has been on the loose, turning into a bat, hovering at the window every night, and turning into a mist that can float through cracks the size of a piece of paper, in order to suck some blood. How foolish I didn’t see it all along! I could just kick myself!” In a perfect world, Van Helsing would have told everyone what was happening from the get go and we could edit out the endless sexually-laden blood transfusions and the long-winded journal entries from everyone’s point of view. There, the book has been cut down by two thirds.
Next, let’s edit out all of the times these men are referred to as brave, men of men, strong men, etc. etc. There, one third of that one third – Deleted.
Now, let’s edit out any letters back and forth between the two women characters in the book that only speak of their suitors and fiances, because women are vapid man-crazed dolts. So all the letters – Deleted.
And then we are left with the rest. A story so bland it rivals Rosemary’s Baby in boring tales of horror that don’t take your mind on much of a journey anywhere. But at least it’s a boring tale of mild horror that could be read in one sitting.
Oh, and one more thing. What is it with Van Helsing constantly referring to Dracula’s child-brain, when Dracula clearly has outsmarted all these humans for centuries? It’s a little much Van Helsing, especially from someone who thinks this nonsense is acceptable speech: “We follow him. Tally ho! As friend Arthur would say when he put on his red frock! Our old fox is wily. Oh! So wily, and we must follow with wile.”
“A brave man’s hand can speak for itself, it does not even need a woman’s love to hear its music.”