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Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Radleys: Vamp Fiction at Its finest

It seems that there is a surplus of Vampire inspired literature: either leading the best sellers list or their made for TV/movie adaptations is the most talked about program. I, myself am suffering from Vampire Fatigue. There are only so many ways that a writer can creatively pen; likable, and innocent blood sucking, murderous, protagonists.

Enter Matt Haig, and his latest novel, "The Radleys." The Radleys, are your average dysfunctional suburban family. Peter and Helen,  are an attractive city couple that moved to the countryside to provide a quiet and stable life for their children. Peter is an overworked doctor, and Helen is a forlorn housewife. Peter and Helen are the parents of two teen aged kids: Rowan and awkward boy, whom  is constantly ridiculed, and the prime focus of the high school bully. Rowan sister Clara is mousy, animal loving vegan. 

Rowan and Clara Radley don't fit in at school. They're not like the other kids. It puzzles the teens beyond rationality to understand why they innately provoke caution in others. The confusion of their normal existence is erased by an act of self defense made by Clara that leads to the realization of "The Radley family secret. The children, were born vampire, and have been raised in an Abstainers Household. 

Clara loves her transformation; regardless of the implications it creates for her family.  

"Be proud to act like a normal human being, Keep daylight hours, get a regular job, and mix in the company of people with a fixed sense of write and wrong." -The Abstainers Handbook

The Radleys, Is a funny and imaginative read. Matt Haig, cleverly spins the vampire diet as an addiction that requires constant support to maintain; combined with the ever present lust for thirst. Add  the dynamics of with-holding important facts of life from your family and you have the prime contents for a drama-licious read.

 I loved reading The Radleys, The book was clever and imaginative. Matt Haig, did not patronize any character. Instead he created a family of unique personalities each fighting their own personal demons as they accept the truth and conditions of their existence. 
Matt Haig's, The Radleys, Is less vampire fiction, and more great fiction. The novel is an effortlessly witty read that constantly reminds the reader of why The Radleys Is a 2011 ALA ALEX Award winner. 

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