SPOILER ALERT, SPOILER ALERT!
On August 28th, 1963, Henry Sturges stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial, his clothing and hair in keeping with the times, a black umbrella protecting his skin and dark glasses covering his eyes. He was accompanied by an uncommonly tall friend, his eyes behind a pair of Ray-Bans; his shoulder-length brown hair beneath a floppy brimmed hat. A bushy beard obscured his angular face, the same one staring down at him from its marble throne (and causing him no shortage of discomfort). Both listened intently, proudly, as a young black preacher looked out on more than 250,000 faces.
Um, what other president can pull of a bushy beard and a floppy brimmed hat? Plus, Henry was accompanied with the same man in the Lincoln Memorial. Come on guys, the only man sitting on a marble throne in the Lincoln Memorial is… Lincoln!
Honest Abe was not just honest, but now immortal.
The history books end Abe’s life with his assassination. However, ALVH allows him live forever, significantly present in yet another turning point in our history: Martin Luther King Jr’s speech, The March on Washington. I want to believe that the reason why Abe is immortalized in this novel is to signify the permanent imprint he left in our history. What he has done will forever be remembered and praised upon for as long as there are people in the world. His presence during Dr. King’s speech is definitely not by chance. Lincoln stood for freedom so he stands with all acts supporting that cause, literally. He listens and watches as all these people cheer and come together to fight for equality, seeing how his legacy is lived through figures like Dr. King and the crowds of hundreds of thousands.
Even with a figurative connection to history and Abe’s immortality, would you think he actually likes his new vampire life? Knowing Abe though this novel, I’d say no. He gave up slaying vamps and wanting to do nothing with the cold-blooded creatures for a reason. It came to a point where he didn’t even want to run for office because he was content with what he has: his family.
But I am happy. And happiness, I have decided, is a noble ambition. I have lost too much already, and have been a slave to vampires these thirty years. Let me now be free. Let me now seek the enjoyment of whatever time God may grant me. And if this peace be merely prelude to some peril or other, so be it. I shall enjoy the peace.
Immortality is a curse. Abe has been hunting vampires for thirty years, now he has to do it for the rest of his life. As he puts it, he “has been a slave to vampires,” prioritizing them over his loved ones and true happiness. The meaning of life is not to live forever, but to feel that moment of “foreverness” with the people who matter the most, even if that means it doesn’t truly last. You have to make the time all worth it! And as Nicki Minaj puts it, “to live doesn’t mean you’re alive.” Immortality doesn’t allow you to feel alive because you just know you will be. Taking risks doesn’t seem to have depth any more because you would already know how it will end. It doesn’t.
You might not die or grow old as the rest of the human race, but you witness death in every waking moment. There is no end to the bad you can see and go through. In Henry’s response to Lincoln’s comment of not knowing loss, he says,
I have spent these three hundred years mourning a wife and child, Abraham! Mourning the life that was stolen from me; a thousand loves lost to time!
The only constant in your existence with be you, because everything else perishes. It’s a sad truth that immortals struggle with and Henry definately feels that.
I definately enjoyed reading this novel. It is a great parralell to the story of Abraham Lincoln. The use of vampirism, action, and history, made me want to keep reading! The ending was really the icing on the cake. It all ties back to the movements that are still closely related to our time now. I’ve heard many people say, “What would Dr. King think of the nation now?” But what if Dr. King asked, “What would Abe think?” during his era? If there’s one thing I would take from this book, that would be hope. Hope that we can all come together and slay the injustices. Hope that we never forget what all the great figures in history stood for. That for as long as Abe is lingering in the shadows and continuously fighting the evil in this world, we too can make a story and do something good that will immortalize us forever.