I will admit that I saw the movie before reading this. I had heard some things about this novella, but not too many details, just that it was talked about by both Stephen King and Dean Koontz as groundbreaking.
I assumed that the book would follow the story fairly closely. I couldn't have been more wrong. Why is it, when a movie is based on a book, they change anything, much less the whole meaning behind the story?
The pure loneliness and sadness that Robert Neville feels can be felt down to your soul. He has brief lapses where he seems to snap out of it somewhat, like when he starts to analyze the 'living' and 'dead' sufferers of the vampire virus and tries to determine what might be causing it, you see his alcohol consumption decrease and see that he truly seems to have a zest for life again.
You feel the loss of his wife and daughter, and the hollering that he hears each night, especially that of Ben Cortman, his old neighbor, who calls out his name each night...truly frightening. How he sustains life throughout 3 years without contact with another human is beyond me. Even his encounter with the dog, while providing some happiness, eventually ends in utter sadness.
When he meets Ruth you think that he may finally have a chance at having someone to relate to. Even though she is terrified of him when he yells to her, and exhibits even more fear and terror at being chased by him, once he has her back to his house you think that things might finally be looking up. But in the end, you realize what I Am Legend really means, and you have a new view on what 'normal' really is.
I would highly recommend this book. And, you won't see me do this often, but this one gets 5 stars from me.