At first I was horrified when I saw the size of the book, and I quickly decided that it was definitely one to be read at home and not on my commute into town! When I picked up the book to start reading I was quite relieved to see that it was two complete book in one!
This one is from the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. Rather appropriately!
The summer I was sixteen, the Travelling Vampire Show came to town. I heard about it first from my two best friends, Rusty and Slim. Rusty’s real name was Russell, which he pretty much hated. Slim’s real name was Frances. She had to put up with it from her parents and teachers, but not from other kids. She’d tell them, ‘Frances is a talking mule’. Asked what she wanted to be called, her answer pretty much depended on what book she happened to be be reading.
I liked this book. I was pulled through the story, which grew and twisted along the way, completely not to my predictions at all. I really liked the characters, it was nice to have some strong women in here, especially as this is a book with a first person narrative from a teenage boy. Although at that point I would like to say ‘eeww, gross. Are all teenage boys this sex obsessed?’. But apart from a few ugh points it was ok. Although, one guy beats up his sister quite badly and then rapes an unconscious woman, not an ugh point, but a nasty one, although he gets his comeuppance in no uncertain terms.
It is set in the sixties in America and as a result there are some things that are lost on me, but I know that they have some significance, even if I don’t quite get them. There is a lot of emphasis placed on swearing (as in, how bad it is) and how they are not allowed in the same house alone with a member of the opposite sex and they are not allowed upstairs at another persons house. I am not sure if this is a sixties thing or an American thing. Although having said that I used to get told off for saying ‘bloke’ or ‘gross’ when I was at home.
All in all, I really enjoyed this one!
The Travelling Vampire Show – Richard Laymon.