Friday, April 10, 2015

'The Last American Vampire' by Seth Grahame-Smith

The Last American Vampire
(Mom, since you haven't read the book yet, do not read my review. It may contain spoilers and unduly influence your opinion.)

The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(Heads up: I'm going to use "they" as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun.) I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but this sequel much less so. I don't understand the plot. What is A. Grander VIII's motivation for doing all the awful things they do? I can't enthusiastically endorse a book in which the villain's actions are so nonsensical.

Seth Grahame-Smith's consistent insensitivity to the female half of the species continues to baffle and irk me. It's not only his refusal to join us in the 21st century and, in the voices of his narrators, use the inclusive word "humankind" rather than the outdated, gender-biased "mankind." On the "Facts" page that proceeds the title page in this first edition, in the voice of his narrator - not, mind you, a character from an earlier century - Grahame-Smith uses "mankind" twice in three paragraphs.

It's also a return on Grahame-Smith's part to the "I used to love her, but I had to kill her" theme I so detested in his screenplay of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Helena Bonham Carter travesty Dark Shadows. "But she was a witch!" and "But she was an evil vampire!" may be acceptable excuses for violence against fictional women, but such scenes are not the least bit entertaining in a world where real violence against real women is a disturbing constant.

I really enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Seth Grahame-Smith disappoints me as often as he impresses me. I did like the footnote in which Emily Dickinson's reclusiveness is explained by her being a lesbian or bisexual/pansexual vampire. Alas, the women in Grahame-Smith's fiction since Elizabeth Bennet have all been footnotes, plot devices to be used at the service of the male characters' plotlines and then violently disposed of when no longer necessary. If Grahame-Smith's next book is titled Emily Dickinson: Pansexual Vampire, I'll probably read it. Otherwise, I think I'll be done with his casually sexist, anachronistic ass. I read for fun, not to be made to feel as if my entire gender is disposable.

Judging from his photo on the inside back cover, Seth Grahame-Smith is a fairly good-looking guy. He will not, however, be one of my Hanukkah Hotties, because he is a not-very-nice Jewish boy.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

I checked this book out from my local library and was not obligated to read or review it any way.


kimbacaffeinate said...

Sorry this disappointed you. I had fun listening to the narration.

Erin O'Riordan said...

My mom is liking it. She has about 100 pages to go at this point.