Friday, November 6, 2015

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

So, confession time. When I was growing up, I was terrified to watch Silence of the Lambs. I thought the poster looked terrifying, and I imagined that Hannibal Lector eating people in the most gruesome way. I had, (and still have) a very vivid imagination, especially when it comes to horror movies. Ghost movies? Haunted Houses movies? Totally out. Zombie movies? Dawn of the Dead terrified me for the longest time. The Ring? The Grudge? I can't even do it. Torture movies? SAW is seared into my brain forever.

Interestingly enough, my husband LOVES scary movies. He was a film major before switching to English (therefore, going into teaching) and took a class on scary movies. He enjoys watching them, but we never embarked on watching them together. 

Fast forward to this year. He and I both LOVE Halloween, and he has taken to call this month, "Shock-tober" (I know... you wonder how I snagged such a man). We also discussed what Halloween-y things we could do this month (that you know, don't cost a lot of money) and he suggested a few scary movies. 

And guys... I wasn't immediately, "Hell to the naw!" about it. I thought for a few seconds, and I realized that I should watch more scary movies. I'm older now, experienced more life and I'm not scared out of my mind so much anymore. So we discussed a few movies to watch, and the topic of Silence of the Lambs came up. Now, he and I watched the show together, and he stated that the movie wasn't completely scary and more of a thriller. He also suggested that I do a "Which is Better?" posts about all the movies and the books along with the show. That's what I'm going to do now! First I will review the books, and then the "Which is Better?" post will come out next for each book and each movie. 

After watching the movie, I went ahead and read the book. It's going to be really hard to not review the movie with the book, because well, the movie follows the book with a few minor absences that weren't really needed in the movie. It opens up to Clarice running through the FBI training grounds when she gets a notice to go see Jack Crawford. They begin discussing Buffalo Bill and Hannibal Lector, with Jack sending Clarice to go see Hannibal because he feels like she can get something out of him. Finally, Jack warns Clarice to not give up any personal information because Hannibal likes to amuse himself. A lesson that Jack learned with Will Graham. 

Harris' style of writing is very straightforward. He's a mystery and crime novelist and his mode of writing is very direct and to the point. At some points, especially during action scenes, I felt as if I was watching the fight happen, instead of experiencing it. When intense dialogue and conversations taking place, especially with Clarice and other characters, I felt like I wasn't experiencing her discovery and realizations. I was just sort of reading about it. Finally, I thought that some of Harris' descriptive language was a bit odd. There was one part of the story where he describes a female character who puts her hand on her vagina to hide while in the well. I can't speak for other women who are scared, but I felt as if Harris was sexualizing her? Why point out that she covered her vagina? I'm not sure what the purpose of that was. 

Harris also switches between perspectives jarringly and sometimes I would have to reread in order to figure out that the inner monologue of characters switched. I don't mind experiencing a shift in perspectives, but the transition wasn't smooth. 

Finally, even though I'm not a fan of crime novels, I thought it was an enjoyable read. After watching the show, I liked reading the novel that began it all. 

My husband's favorite book, which is my next book in the series (after I take a break from Hannibal Lector), is Red Dragon. He thinks that it's the best book of the series and even better than Silence of the Lambs. 

What do you all think? Stay tuned for Which is Better? Coming out in a few weeks! 

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