Monday, October 15, 2007


The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
"It's a hot August morning in 1963. All over the rural town of Grandville, tacked to power poles and trees, taped to store windows, flyers have appeared announcing the one-night-only performance of The Traveling Vampire Show. The promised highlight of the show is the gorgeous Valeria, the only living vampire in captivity.
For three local teenagers, two boys and a girl, this is a show they can't miss. Even though the flyers say no one under eighteen will be admitted, they're determined to find a way. What follows is a story of friendship and courage, temptation and terror, when three friends go where they shouldn't go, and find much more than they ever expected."*
I first read this book a few years ago. It's a total guilty pleasure read for me. There are no redeeming values to the book whatsoever. I can't recommend it to anyone. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the ending is way over the top and would have been happier with one that was a bit toned down. But I like the book. It's fun. The build up to the end follows the three teens through a fairly classic (albeit thru Laymon's warped lens) coming-of-age tale. It's a fun read for me being a big fan of coming-of-age stories. And I thought it would be a great pre-Halloween read. It was.
I started October with a viewing of To Kill A Mockingbird with Gregory Peck's Atticus. We have also watched Something Wicked This Way Comes, a wicked little movie with a great villian played with perfection by Jonathan Pryce. Perhaps I should round out the month with a re-reading of the The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale and Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon. The latter is in my top 5 favorite books of all time. And like Ray Bradbury says in Something Wicked This Way Comes,

"First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn't begun yet. July, well, July's really fine: there's no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June's best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September's a billion years away.
But you take October, now. School's been on a month and you're riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you'll dump on old man Prickett's porch, or the hairy-ape costume you'll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it's around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bed sheets around corners."

And Ray should know. He is, after all, the oldest boy on the planet.

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