Book Review: I Am Legend

I Am LegendI Am Legend by Richard Matheson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great book. I found myself wishing i could still be reading it after i had finished. It’s very short, but other than that i would say it’s pretty much flawless.

I’m not even sure why i liked it; it’s a bleak story. The protagonist Robert Neville is presumably the last man on Earth after a disease infects everyone and begins to turn them into vampires. Yes, vampires, although they’re more like what we know as zombies. It isn’t a fantasy book; Neville slowly unravels the mystery of the disease and discovers that vampirism isn’t something mystical, but a set of symptoms that are attributable to the disease. I enjoyed that part a lot. Neville is a champion of skeptical, scientific inquiry. His struggles with self-discipline and motivation to tackle the problem at hand made a lot of sense to me, as did his relentless desire to discover the truth.

Something about survival stories is so much fun to read. I’ve enjoyed that ever since i first read The Boxcar Children, i think. I shy away from anything that’s too brutal though, so i don’t read very many survival stories, but this one was just right for me. It’s riveting to hear about someone working diligently to take care of himself, and doing an admirable job of it. That’s the kind of work people were meant to do.

I don’t want to give the ending away, but it’s pretty amazing. Unless you’re much cleverer than i am, you don’t really understand the title of the book until the very last page. And then you get it, and it blows your mind.

And, by the way, they had no business using this title for the Will Smith movie. It doesn’t fit. They took many, many liberties with the story, but the main thing they changed was the ending. I don’t particularly care that they changed the things they did, but i just think it’s silly that they used this title for it.

So, probably you should read this book, whether you liked the movie or not. It’s a classic.

View all my reviews

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