Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: Evil Librarian

I specifically requested this book to purchase for our library because I don't think there are enough books about libraries and librarians. It's so wonderfully meta to have a book about a librarian, in a library, that's been read (and reviewed) by the librarian who will then be checking out to patrons who use the library. I want to display this book prominently because I love the cover:

I requested this book because it seemed like a good addition for our Horror collection, which has always been kind of my pet project. If I had my way, I'd have an entire room filled with horror books, decorated with ghosts and gravestones and black lights- the whole shebang. But the more of this book I read, I'm not sure I'd shelve it with the horror.

There's not really anything horrifying in it- unless a reader is very religious and is uncomfortable reading about devils and demons. I ended up putting it in our YA collection. I really enjoyed the main character's, Cynthia's, narrative voice because not only is she a believable teen but she also seems to be kind of mocking typical horror stories with her flippant attitude towards the central conflict: the fact that the new (very attractive) librarian is actually a demon from Hell in disguise who is planning to suck the life out of the students.

For example this excerpt: "And so yeah, demons and death and scary terrible terrifying things waiting around every corner, sure, and, for some of us, impossible journeys to some hellish underworld on the agenda very, very soon. Whatever. .  .  .And so for now I am listening to my favorite songs and dreaming impossible dreams and ignoring the reality of the swiftly approaching future as much as I possibly can."

She's acknowledging this scenario and simultaneously remarking how ridiculous it is and in the same breath informing us that she has other concerns right now, and I find the passage a very truthful account of a typical teen's thought process. Maybe it would be stereotypical if this was a realistic fiction book, but because the plot is so ridiculous already, and the character is aware of it, it doesn't come across as cliche but perfectly in line with the book's tone.

I have to admit that I also fell under the spell of the (very attractive) librarian Mr. Gabriel. The author's choice of surname for him is obviously appropriate, because Gabriel is one of the most famous seraphim, so the contrast of a demon having an angelic name is enjoyable. Mr. Gabriel isn't really described in detail, at least not in his human form, except that he is young and very attractive and has glittering eyes. I also enjoyed this because it allowed me to create my own handsome, young librarian construct in my mind's eye. Something along these lines:

He also had that irresistible quality that I love in my literary and film characters: the incredible acumen to see right through whatever facade you're attempting to present, combined with the haughty confidence to say exactly what he knows you're trying to hide. I love that quality in fictional characters- but if I encounter a real person with that gift it's a lot less fun. Anyways, when the character exposition is executed well, it's easy to see why Cynthia's best friend Annie might become entranced by him.

Truthfully, I was hoping there would be a little more library humor because it seems like this book is intended especially for librarians to enjoy, and there's always more than enough territory about how librarians are often thought to be old/unattractive/mean or that we're Type A control freaks who will reduce an adult to tears over a creased page.   . .I think the closest inference to this type of humor is when they realize that Mr. Gabriel is a demon and confront him, making the accusation "You're not human!" and he replies: "Strangely, the job description did not specify that as a requirement."

It's good to know that even if a demon steals my soul, that I cannot be fired. 

I knew I joined the union for a reason.

Any ways, I recommend checking this book out. I also recommend checking out attractive librarians, but I don't think you can take those home with you most of the time.

No comments:

Post a Comment