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What was the deal with… ? Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

November 7, 2021

The novel Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice never should have meant anything to me. It wouldn’t have, except my first ever girlfriend broke up with me after I told her it sucked.

I had a tough time with girls when I was in high school. I had no money and no status (I had a lot of acne, but that wasn’t a currency I could use to my advantage), and therefore, no shot at a decent girlfriend.

Things didn’t change much in college. The women in college were more intelligent than the high school girls I was used to, but they still weren’t interested in me. Some sudden changes happened my junior year, though. My face cleared up, I started dressing a little better, and I became a Resident Assistant at one of the better dorms at my university.

This seems really stupid, but the status I had as an RA changed women’s perspective of me. From my point-of-view, I was just a doofus RA stumbling through campus regulations like I’ve always stumbled through everything else in my life. To a bunch of college women, I was suddenly a guy who knew everybody and knew everything that was going on around campus and I wasn’t acting like a dick about it.

I’m getting to Interview With The Vampire, I promise.

I ended up with a pasty literary chick who had been in a writing class with me the previous semester in my sophomore year. I admit, I had quietly dominated that writing class with some relatively high quality stuff. Some of it had been polarizing, especially when I’d used first-person point-of-view for a despicable character who’d made a logical, humorous case for justifying his actions. A lot of students in that class couldn’t understand that the narrator wasn’t really me and that I was writing a character, so they hated the story and they hated me because they thought I actually was the character.

I’d had to sit there quietly in class while my story was getting butchered with student criticism, and finally this pasty literary chick with big glasses vigorously defended my story. I was grateful that somebody had understood what I was doing with my writing, but I felt like that pasty literary chick was fighting my battle for me. I still can’t believe that college students couldn’t grasp that first-person point-of-view doesn’t mean the author agrees with the narrator.

Even though the pasty literary chick had understood my story, she wasn’t interested in me that sophomore year (and I don’t blame her), but one day during my junior year for some reason she showed up at my RA dorm room. She was displaying a lot of cleavage for a pasty literary chick with thick glasses. She quizzed me about all the books I had on my shelf. She stood really close to me. She kept brushing her hair back. She kept hinting about stuff she wanted to do around campus.

Before I knew it, things got out of control, and I hadn’t even bought her dinner yet.

The next few weeks were great! The pasty literary chick became my pasty literary girlfriend. Everybody knew she was my girlfriend because she was wearing my Cerebus the Aardvark t-shirt; I didn’t just let everybody wear that. I kept my grades up. The RA job was cushy. Between classes, RA stuff, and a girlfriend, there was a lot to juggle around, but I managed. And then…

My pasty literary girlfriend told me that I needed to read Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice. Interview With The Vampire had come out in 1976, but it was massively popular in the 1980s, and author Anne Rice had already written a sequel. Everybody who knew anything about books knew about Interview With The Vampire. I knew enough about it to know that I didn’t want to read it.

I shouldn’t have agreed to read it. I had a bunch of books I had to read for classes. I had a ton of college stuff to do, plus a pasty literary girlfriend that I liked hanging around with. I was annoyed at the double standard; I never would have given her a book and told her to read it. I’d never have given her a Mickey Spillane or Mack Bolan pocketbook. Those books are relationship killers.

To my credit, I tried reading Interview With The Vampire. I tried, but it gave me Moby Dick headaches, along with yawning and heavy eyelids. I couldn’t get into it. It affected my mood. When my pasty literary girlfriend asked me what I thought of Interview With The Vampire, I flippantly told her that it sucked.

I could tell immediately from her eyes that I’d hurt her feelings. She got quiet and went home early. I had that aching feeling in my gut; I knew I’d screwed up. I should have handled it better. She had tried to share something she liked with me, and I had rejected her. I hadn’t intended to hurt her feelings. I just didn’t like the book.

Even though she didn’t return my phone calls over the next few days, I thought we’d patch things up, but then I opened up my campus mailbox one morning and saw that my Cerebus the Aardvark t-shirt had been stuffed inside of it. Yeah, that was the sign things were over. At least she hadn’t shredded the shirt.

As disappointed as I was with the break up, I felt even worse a week later when I heard that she’d been spotted holding hands with the campus poetry professor. The guys on my floor gave me grief that I’d been dumped for an old dude who looked like Shel Silverstein. I had to take it. I couldn’t tell them that I’d been dumped because I said that Interview With The Vampire sucked. At least the guys on my floor understood that a poetry professor had more status than an RA.

Plus, I bet that poetry professor had pretended to like Interview With The Vampire. Damn, I thought, that’s what I should have done.

Later on that semester, I ran into that poetry professor in a men’s bathroom. He recognized me as a former student, so we talked for a few minutes. I don’t know if he knew I had been his girlfriend’s boyfriend first. At that point, it didn’t matter.

I could have blamed myself for the way that relationship with my pasty literary girlfriend ended. I could blame my own insensitivity, my inexperience with women at the time, or my general lack of social awareness. I could have blamed my pasty literary girlfriend for putting too much emphasis on a book that wasn’t written for a guy like me. Or I could just blame the book. Yeah, I just blamed the book. I’d rather blame an inanimate object than a real person.

I’ve never tried reading Interview With The Vampire again. I’ve never seen the movie. But still, I kind of wonder… What was the big deal about Interview With The Vampire?

6 Comments
  1. Right off the bat I should say I did really like Interview With the Vampire and I did read it back in 1976 when it came out. That being said, my liking it does not define my reading taste at all in the overall scheme of my life from Nietzsche to Proust to yes I did like Moby Dick as well. Kierkegaard was a hard slog. Barbara Cartland and Harlequin Romances were peanuts for depression. I cover the waterfront… I have never met anyone who reads the books I read, the way I read so my reading life is personal to me and never has had an impact on my friendships (except to force my friends to accept less of my time since I prefer books to people). As I read your post, I realized that I was comparing her reaction to your response to the book to my reaction to people in my life who liked Trump….suddenly they stand out as people I don’t want in my life…it says something about them that shows we are incompatible in a major way and at my age with my time growing short….leave them behind and move on. So, at first I thought her reaction a bit extreme…suddenly it seemed reasonable. The pasty part seemed a bit like sour grapes carried to the extreme for too long 🙂

    • I didn’t mean to sound like sour grapes (haha!). I tried to make it clear that I was at fault. My former pasty literary girlfriend probably would have found the repetition of the phrase humorous (though she might have changed her mind after I told her that Interview With The Vampire sucked).

  2. Marilyn Kriete permalink

    Funny story! I try not to (secretly) judge people by their taste in books, but sometimes it’s hard!

    • Hey, I admit that I always look to see what’s on somebody else’s book shelf (and sometimes I secretly judge).

      • I do not think I judge but I do know I am frequently disappointed that there is not a single book that I have or would read. I love to see at least one book that I have read sitting on someone’s shelf..then I sort of feel like we could have a connection. Someone with many books in common…hey a soulmate.

  3. I think the big deal about Interview With the Vampire is the creative novelty of a (newspaper?) reporter interviewing a centuries-old vampire. That and the fact that the movie starred Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Otherwise, Interview With the Vampire was kind of lame. The Vampire Lestat, though, was very good. And the other books in that series rise to the level of at least pretty good, if not full-on good. I’m not comfortable recommending them, but I will say that you probably will not regret having read The Vampire Lestat, should you choose to read it.

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