A few months ago, Chuck and I were at the movies (I could end this post right there as that is such a rare occurrence) when we both had a good laugh at a preview highlighting an upcoming movie entitled Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. While not offended by the concept, we did find it ridiculous at best. A week or so later, however, something reminded me of the preview, and I did some digging which revealed that the seemingly laughable movie was actually based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name.
I'm not gonna lie; I was intrigued.
Typically, I am one to stick to my genre (I'm a sucker for historical fiction). While this fell in that category, the apparent abundance of blood and gore certainly did not. However, in recent years, I have found myself on that bandwagon of those who quickly "judge books by their covers." In many cases, I opted to read those books (despite my own self-imposed resistance) and was almost always surprised at just how wrong my snap judgment was. You see where I'm going here?
I did it. I read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. And I'm glad I did. It was everything I did not expect it to be.
I expected a farce.
I expected gratuitous violence.
I expected the darkness to be glorified.
I expected graphic passion.
I expected a national hero to be made into a joke.
None of those things were in this book.
Now, that being said, do I think everyone should read it? No, probably not. But, if you do read it, you may be surprised what you discover.
You will discover surprising historical accuracy.
You will discover a (fictional) accounting for Lincoln's (actual) brooding nature and struggles with depression.
You will discover an interesting twist on the nature of good vs. evil in our nation.
You will discover an amazingly tasteful description of what could be a rather gory account.
You will discover an author who took the time to weave fiction into a very real and very important part of our nation's past.
I read this book because I knew that if I didn't, I would join the hoards of people naysaying it without an informed, educated opinion. Yes, it sounds ridiculous. Yes, it clearly did not happen that way. But, come on, people - It's fiction!! That is what fiction is. It is a verbally artistic attempt to remove us from our reality so that we can glimpse a world that is not. And, for a time in our nation's history that has probably been the most studied, the most researched, and the most exposed, this author did an impressive job of incorporating a purely fictitious, fantastical element without really changing that historical element that makes our 16th president who he is.
In no way do I feel that this story undermines Lincoln's reputation or the nation's deep reverence for him. In fact, as many works of fiction do, it has almost made him a larger-than-life hero - someone who went to great lengths to save our nation from the evils of slavery and inequality.
Go ahead. Add it to your summer reading list. I won't tell.