The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Completed Reading: 5/27/2016
Format: Paperback, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 1989
Let me begin by saying that for ten years of my life, my brother had me convinced Hannibal Lector was a real person. It took me a while to decide, once I learned he was not, that I was going to attempt to read the books.
It took me a while to find them.
Then this one sat for three years on my shelf, in my Currently Reading section, and I dared not pick it up until earlier this month. I’m glad I did.
I went into this book with a certain level of expectation. I expected horror and skin-crawling uncomfortableness, tinged with creepy.
What I got was very well written and actually extremely entertaining. There’s enough detail in here to keep me interested and paint a picture without it being overly gory. Obviously the plot is full of Terrible, with the primary villain of the story being a serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Dr Lector plays a small but important and weirdly entertaining role, and I found myself rooting for him despite everything. He presents an intelligent character, and forces those around him to be likewise; pushes them, in fact, to grow on the scale.
But The Silence of the Lambs isn’t really about Dr Lector. It’s about Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee who’s at top of her class, cutting her teeth on a world no one else in her family has ever had the chance to be in. She’s intelligent and determined, and when she gets the chance to talk to Dr Lector, it starts the whirlwind that leads her to help hunt for Buffalo Bill.
I confess I have so much I could say about this book, except all of it would be my gushing about potential spoilers, and I wont spoil this. Tiny little details lead to shifts in perception.
I can tell you this though: I want to read more books by Thomas Harris. I want to read more books in the Hannibal venue.
And if you’ve ever hesitated to read The Silence of the Lambs, don’t. I don’t know how the rest of them work, but this is a good piece, and deserves at least a read through.
(As an aside, I finally know what my brother is talking about when he spouts “it puts the lotion on it’s skin or it gets the hose again.” Go figure.)