A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the vampire novel that started it all is sexier, more violent, and edgier than you probably remember. In one scene, sexually aggressive female vampires dance seductively for Jonathon Harker who expresses "a wicked, burning desire" for them to kiss him; in another the heroine is forced to drink from Dracula's breast. While not described in gruesome detail, there's plenty of staking, throat slashing, biting, and blood drinking. Count Dracula is not the tortured romantic hero of modern-day cinema, but rather an evil monster that must be destroyed. Also, parents should be aware that this novel has a strong female character turned into a sexually aggressive predator, as well as unsettling descriptions of mental illness.
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What's the story?
When Jonthan Harker is sent to Transylvania to conduct some business for an enigmatic nobleman, he's warned by the villagers that Count Dracula has evil powers and diabolical ambitions. When Jonathon attempts to leave he discovers that the villagers are right; He is held captive by the count and barely escapes, badly injured. Meanwhile back in England, his beautiful wife-to-be, Mina, joins her friend Lucy in Whitby to wait for Jonathon to return. Lucy falls ill and begins acting very strangely and it becomes apparent that Lucy's illness is related to the evil count. With the help of two of Lucy's suitors, a brilliant old professor, and a new-found incentive to protect Mina, Jonathon sets off back to Transylvania to destroy the monster.
Is it any good?
DRACULA has all the necessary requirements to keep it read by each generation of horror fans. As well as being an excellent time capsule to turn-of-the-century England, it's a scary, intriguing under-the-covers read. With great horror staples like spooky howling wolves, damsels in distress, evil monsters, and a quest to destroy them it's not surprising that this is the novel that kicked off the vampire craze. While the myths about vampires may be familiar, don't be too shocked when this vampire is more monster and ghoul than romantic hero.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the vampire myth. How are the vampires in the Twilight series different? Which vampire lore do you prefer?
Why, when Count Dracula is such a cruel creature in this novel, has he become such an iconic character?
How does the novel itself live up to the hype of all the movies? Were you disappointed to find that Dracula isn't the romantic hero he is on screen?
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