Well, you already know my weakness for vampire fiction, so it will hardly surprise anyone that I took a gander at the Twilight series. Short review: A bit young — I think teenage girls are the main demographic target — but definitely read-worthy, and potentially addicting; I finished all four books over the weekend. (See, THAT explains my lack of posting!)
Longer review: Okay, pretty classic storyline going here — turns out, vampires live among us, and gee whillikers, not all vampires are evil. Bella (teenage heroine, aged seventeen) meets up with Edward (vampire heroine, also aged seventeen although he’s been seventeen for quite a while). Luckily for Bella (and our story), Edward happens to belong to a rare family of vampires that don’t eat humans.
With such a seemingly-trite storyline, you may wonder why I (and half of America, seems like) found the story addicting. Three simple reasons:
1) The writing is good. I’m not pretending it’s Jane Austen, but there’s a good deal of humor, which always makes a book tastier.
2) Vampire books are fun. No, seriously! Check out the success of Laurell K. Hamilton and J.R. Ward and Anne Rice; all three exploited a simple not-all-vampires-are-evil premise and laughed all the way to the bank. (Yes, I do have all three authors in my bookcase.)
3) Like the Harry Potter books, the Twilight books seem ALMOST believable. It’s the kind of plot that has you kicking yourself — “Why didn’t *I* think of writing that?”
And yet, it’s something more.
To be honest, I think this is the female equivalent of a well-done Batman, or Spiderman. Growing up, what guy doesn’t want to step into those shoes? What guy doesn’t want to believe that his awkward, gangly growing pains could be consumed in a frenzy of super-heroism if a radioactive spider happens along? What grown-up guy doesn’t enjoy a well-made superhero movie?
What gangly, awkward teenage girl doesn’t have a massive crush on a guy and think, “He would never, never, never be interested in me, I’m not worth it”?
Bella feels that way about Edward; she knows she could never be smart enough, talented enough, beautiful enough to earn his attention, let alone his regard. Yet as it turns out, she is unique in the entire world and has his full attention.
Simple, sure. But it tugs at my heartstrings all the same: Bella’s absolute certainty that her major crush won’t — can’t — like her in return; the miracle that he actually does; the constant self-doubt and amazement that somehow this glorious creature loves her.
Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps only girls who go through an ugly duckling phase — mine was, oh, from when I was about twelve till I turned seventeen — recognize those feelings of loneliness, of unworthiness, and rejoice that somehow Bella was lucky enough to be intrinsically what Edward would want and need and desire.
Ah, well. Lovey-dovey stuff aside, there are great themes to these books: friendship, self-sacrifice, restraint, family bonds, and men (er, vampires?) not afraid to be men. (Remember this post?) And, parents, the morals found in these teenagers are practically . . . Victorian. Surely that makes them good books for your dear ones to read 🙂
To conclude: No, I do not eat my words regarding “the new teeny-bopper fetish — that o-so-studly (gag) teenage (vegetarian!) vampire.” I never claimed to have high-brow tastes, y’all; consider me a 28-year-old teenybopper. At least it’s older than the Little House books!!
P.S. I was playing my Classical mix while blogging, which includes the Hoedown from Rodeo.
MIKE: “Am I the only one who caught the irony? That you’re playing the “Beef! It’s what’s for dinner!” song while the pot roast cooks?”
ME: “Ummmm, no. I just like that song!!”
Apparently my irony-meter is broken!