Friday, January 18, 2008


Dracula by Bram Stoker

Saturday, September 08, 2007

When you read this book, does it make you wonder what kind of a mind did Bram Stoker have? It's pretty spooky and gory and filled with all kinds of evil. I guess the legends about vampires have been around for ages and it was good to finally read the book that really defined these weird folks. I almost wanted to see the movie because Gary Oldman is such an amazing actor. Oh, I just looked at Amazon and saw Keanu Reeves is in it as well. Now, I'm really torn.

As I started this novel, I kept questioning myself because I hate scary and creepy thngs. And this book is creepy almost immediately as Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to help Count Dracula complete a real estate transaction. The villagers try to warn him and, many times, he observes them crossing themselves. He becomes a little apprehensive, but that's nothing to what he faces later. Soon the action moves to London as Dracula searches for fresh blood. This is where we are introduced to a group of impossibly brave people: Mina Murray Harker, Dr. Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Quincey Morris, and, of course, the invincible Professor Van Helsing. Van Helsing is nothing like the super-hero played by Hugh Jackman in the movie, "Van Helsing." He is old, emotional, and very learned. He is also Dutch; and Stoker incorporates his Dutch accent into the dialog. In fact, there were a number of dialects in this book that I had a hard time understanding. How this band tries to defeat a foe who is becoming increasingly canny and bold makes for a gripping final third of the book. Even though, I found the novel to be too wordy and often skipped passages, I became caught up with the terror and suspense of who would be triumphant before that final sunset. I liked how Stoker expressed compassion and friendship. He also describes several seemingly unrelated incidences during the first half and then deftly begins to draw them together as the story races towards the final showdown. The story is told through a series of journal entries and letters written mostly by Jonathan, Mina and Seward. This gave me an opportunity to really get to know those characters and see others through different perspectives. Plus I grew up seeing vampires as these kind of funny, one-dimensional monsters and "Dracula" certainly gave me an whole new perspective. Overall, I enjoyed this book more than I thought when I began it. I'm sure that I will not read it again but feel that it was a worthy book to read especially for these two challenges.

Rating: 4

Posted by Framed at 4:01 PM

Literary Feline said...
I am glad you enjoyed Dracula, Framed! I admit that I was surprised at how much I liked it too. I hadn't really known what I was in for when I started it. Great review!

9/08/2007 5:30 PM
jenclair said...
I'm glad you liked it, too! It is a favorite of mine. When I was young and watched the old Dracula movies, I was scared witless, but couldn't help my attraction to the movies. In one of them (the first film? 1920's or early 1930's) there is a scene in Dracula's castle in which rats are swarming-- but they aren't rats, they are 'possums! Don't know how they managed to get that many!

My favorite comic rendition is Love at First Bite, and Renfield steals the show in that one. A charming and funny version.

The Coppola film changes so much of the intent; it may be worth watching just to see how the novel could be misrepresented, but I was busy disputing everything about it.

The Historian is written in a modern version of the same writing style and makes great use of Stoker's novel to present a contemporary extension of the story. I loved it. Since it is in your list, I hope you do, too!

9/08/2007 7:40 PM
Becky said...
I am currently reading Dracula for the R.I.P II challenge. I'm almost halfway through, and I'm loving it so far. I didn't expect to get so "hooked" on it. But it really is hard to put down. Though I agree with you on some of the dialect being too hard to understand. I skimmed some of it. I figured if I could read a whole paragraph and barely understand a thing, I didn't need to pay too close attention til the scene changed.

9/08/2007 7:58 PM
Booklogged said...
When I read this for last year's RIP I was surprised that I liked it so much. So you're still planning on watching the movie? Do you need some company for that? I'll bring the fat-free popcorn.

9/08/2007 11:16 PM
Booklogged said...
BTW, I tried to respond to your email and it wouldn't send. Some error message that didn't make sense.

I would love to mooch Ghost Writer when you finish. I'm not in any hurry so take your time. Do you own Woman in White?

9/08/2007 11:18 PM
Cath said...
Excellent review! I like the way people can read the same book and come up entirely different views and points. The dialects were difficult, I agree. I often had to read Van Helsing's over again to get the gist. Some of the local dialect was hard too and I'm English!

I'm not sure but wasn't Van Helsing played by Sean Connery in the movie? Your comment still applies though - he was *nothing* like the real one. LOL!

I see you're planning to read The Historian too. Look forward to your comments.

9/09/2007 2:14 AM
Nymeth said...
I watched that movie version when I was something like twelve, and it was the reason why I picked up the book some years later. I liked it back then (even though I had nightmares for a week or so), but later I realized they'd taken many, many liberties with the story.

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book!

9/09/2007 4:06 AM
SuziQoregon said...
I'm glad you liked it. I read early this year for the Classics challenge and was surprised at how wrong all the movie versions were.

9/09/2007 10:26 AM
Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...
Hugh Jackman played Van Helsing in the movie.

So the book was really that good? I never read it because I didn't want to give myself nightmares and like you I have some trouble with the pre-Hollywood way of writing. Meaning that what we capture in a phrase "the Eiffel Tower" back then had to be painstakingly described because everyone hadn't been there, seen a picture, seen it in a movie, etc.

Maybe I'll give it a shot.

9/09/2007 1:04 PM
Tristi Pinkston said...
Hmmm -- I don't do spooky very well. I think I'll leave this one to you braver folks.

9/09/2007 1:08 PM
Framed said...
Cath and Candace, there are two movies referred in my review. I wasn't too clear. I haven't seen "Bram Stoker's Dracula" which stars Gary Oldman as Dracula. Hugh Jackman plays Van Helsing in the movie "Van Helsing" which is really quite cartoonish but creepily so. But if Sean Connery plays Van Helsing in the Bram Stoker version, I may see it after all. Get the popcorn out, Booklogged.

Tristi, I didn't think I did spooky very well either. But I believe I read it better than watch it in movies. There's no spooky music playing in the background. Even so, I may go see that movie. It gives me shivers to think about it.

Jennclair, I did see "Love at First Bite. It was pretty funny, but I don't remember Renfield. Maybe I should watch it again. I keep trying to get psyched up for "The Historian" but it's so big.

Becky, I'll watch for your review. It will be fun to compare.

Wendy, Nymeth, Booklogged, etc. I probably would never have read this book if it had not been for the reviews I read this past year.

Booklogged, I'll let you know when I finish "The Ghost Writer." I spending those moosh points pretty fast so I'll need more soon.

9/09/2007 5:30 PM
Petunia said...
The movie with Keanu was gross and stupid. Keanu's part was particularly bad. He's come a long way since then. I don't mean to be such a Negative Nelly, just giving fair warning.

9/10/2007 12:26 AM
Carrie said...
You've inspired me to give the book a try. I'm not fond of the word-e ness of the clasics, but, I'll give dracula a go.

9/10/2007 8:33 AM
Debi said...
I loved your review! I don't have Dracula on my list, but I'm tempted to add it now.

9/10/2007 9:13 AM
Cassie said...
Framed, in fact you have seen the movie of Dracula because I was with you. I remember that we rented to watch on the first Halloween that I didn't go out trick or treating. I remember being surprised that you were letting me watch it, but you may not have been that much attention to it in between giving out candy and stuff.

9/10/2007 9:27 AM
Carrie K said...
I think it's Anthony Hopkins in the Dracula movie. It's not the best movie ever made, but it's got it's good points.

I never have read the book. I suppose I really should.

9/10/2007 3:27 PM
Framed said...
Carrie, Debi and Carrie K, you should read it. Very atmospheric.

Cassie, you know I read books when you were watching movies I didn't really want to see. I vaguely remember renting this one and seeing Gary Oldman, but that's about it.

9/10/2007 8:53 PM
Stephanie said...
I love creepy and eerie books. And I love vampires. So it's completely weird that I have never actually READ Dracula!! But for this challenge, it's definitely on my list for October!!

Great review!

9/11/2007 10:40 AM
LK said...
I couldn't agree more! Reading Dracula versus viewing the Hollywood version really gave me an insight over how books can bring so much more dimension than films.

10/08/2007 4:21 PM

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