Dracula – 1897 – Bram Stoker – 418 pages
In a nutshell:
Vampire hires lawyer to help him move to England,
Welcome to my first ever classics review! I wanted to start with Dracula because it was the very first classical fiction novel I read entirely of my own volition. Why did I start with Dracula? I chose it for the obvious reasons. While it was written in the 19th century, it was about vampires after all, so how bad could it be? Of all the books I could have chosen, this seemed the safest bet as far as holding my interest. It’s been over a decade since then, so my memory of the book is a little sketchy at best, but I wanted to start my classical reviews with my first classical read, so I’ll do my best.
I think I was definitely right in choosing this as my first. While I assume most teenage girls would have chosen something more like Jane Austen, I think this was a better fit for me at the time. I was still really picky and impatient with books that didn’t grab my attention right away, and Dracula was better at keeping me focused. It was a challenge though. Being written over a hundred years ago, there was quite a bit of vocabulary to look up, especially names of things we don’t use anymore, like types of vehicles and objects. I was a complete nerd about it however, and kept a notebook where I wrote them all down and looked them up later. I still have all the words and definitions around here somewhere…I should really throw things out more often.
Now, about the story. The thing you have to take into account with Victorian literature is that what was exciting then, is nothing compared to what is considered exciting now. This doesn’t mean a Victorian novel is inherently dull or boring, but it is usually good to temper one’s expectations accordingly in order to appreciate it. What helped keep my interest in Dracula was that the entire story was written as a series of journal entries and letters, which made it more personal, and helped to break things up a bit. There was plenty of horror, danger, and adventure, more than I would have expected. I liked the characters and was surprised at the ending, which I thought would be horribly tragic.
If you’re looking to start reading some classical literature but you want something with a little more punch, this is a great place to start. With Vampires being so popular these days, it’s nice to read where it all began. For the record, Dracula didn’t sparkle. Until next time…