Title: The Radleys
Author: Matt Haig
Imprint: Free Press
Publication Date: December 28, 2010
E-Book: ISBN: 9-7814-3919-464-5
Just about everyone knows a family like the Radleys. Many of us grew up next door to one. They are a modern family, averagely content, averagely dysfunctional, living in a staid and quiet suburban English town. Peter is an overworked doctor whose wife, Helen, has become increasingly remote and uncommunicative. Rowan, their teenage son, is being bullied at school, and their anemic daughter, Clara, has recently become a vegan. They are typical, that is, save for one devastating exception: Peter and Helen are vampires and have—for seventeen years—been abstaining by choice from a life of chasing blood in the hope that their children could live normal lives.
One night, Clara finds herself driven to commit a shocking—and disturbingly satisfying—act of violence, and her parents are forced to explain their history of shadows and lies. A police investigation is launched that uncovers a richness of vampire history heretofore unknown to the general public. And when the malevolent and alluring Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, arrives to throw the police off Clara’s trail, he winds up throwing the whole house into temptation and turmoil and unleashing a host of dark secrets that threaten the Radleys’ marriage.The Radleys is a moving, thrilling, and radiant domestic novel that explores with daring the lengths a parent will go to protect a child, what it costs you to deny your identity, the undeniable appeal of sin, and the everlasting, iridescent bonds of family love. Read it and ask what we grow into when we grow up, and what we gain—and lose—when we deny our appetites.
It's only fair to say, that I have not read any of the recent vampire novels that have flooded the market in recent months. In fact, this is my first "Vampire Novel" per se and I was quite surprised at how quickly I was captivated by Matt Haig's storytelling abilities. The Radleys is anything but another teen-age vampire story. In essence, it's the story of one family's struggle to conform to the established norms of society by denying themselves the addiction that defines their very being. Dark secrets and dysfunctional twists abound within the The Radley family, making it difficult to put this book down. And, Matt Haig's sense of British humor radiates throughout the novel adding even more to it's appeal. Overall, I enjoyed The Radleys much to my surprise and I would certainly recommend it. I'm not sure I would classify this as a novel for young adults (high school students), only because I believe in order to fully appreciate the scope of Haig's humor and historical references, the reader should have a certain level of historical and literary knowlege.
With that being said, my rating for the novel is a 4