Monday, June 15, 2015

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson Book Review

Title: I Am Legend
Author: Richard Matheson
Pages: 160
Genre: Horror
Format: Paperback

 Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone.

An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.

By day, he is a hunter, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn....

My Review

I will admit that I saw the movie before reading this. I had heard some things about this novella, but not too many details, just that it was talked about by both Stephen King and Dean Koontz as groundbreaking.

I assumed that the book would follow the story fairly closely. I couldn't have been more wrong. Why is it, when a movie is based on a book, they change anything, much less the whole meaning behind the story?

**Spoiler Alert**

The pure loneliness and sadness that Robert Neville feels can be felt down to your soul. He has brief lapses where he seems to snap out of it somewhat, like when he starts to analyze the 'living' and 'dead' sufferers of the vampire virus and tries to determine what might be causing it, you see his alcohol consumption decrease and see that he truly seems to have a zest for life again.

You feel the loss of his wife and daughter, and the hollering that he hears each night, especially that of Ben Cortman, his old neighbor, who calls out his name each night...truly frightening. How he sustains life throughout 3 years without contact with another human is beyond me. Even his encounter with the dog, while providing some happiness, eventually ends in utter sadness.

When he meets Ruth you think that he may finally have a chance at having someone to relate to. Even though she is terrified of him when he yells to her, and exhibits even more fear and terror at being chased by him, once he has her back to his house you think that things might finally be looking up. But in the end, you realize what I Am Legend really means, and you have a new view on what 'normal' really is.

I would highly recommend this book. And, you won't see me do this often, but this one gets 5 stars from me.

About the Author

Richard Matheson was born in 1926. He began publishing SF with his short story 'Born of Man and Woman' in 1950. I Am Legend was published in 1954 and subsequently filmed as The Omega Man (in 1971), starring Charlton Heston, and I Am Legend (in 2007), starring Will Smith. Matheson wrote the script for the film The Incredible Shrinking Man, an adaptation of his second SF novel The Shrinking Man. The film won a Hugo award in 1958. He wrote many screenplays as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone. He continued to write short stories and novels, some of which formed the basis for film scripts, including Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1971. A film of his novel What Dreams May Come was released in 1998, starring Robin Williams. Stephen King has cited Richard Matheson as a creative influence on his work.

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