Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Twilight, the book

The film Titanic came out in 1997, but I didn't see it in the theater. Turned out that was a very good thing for me.

I was prepared to hate Titanic. I didn't have a "thing" for Leonardo DiCaprio, and at the time I was of the mindset that anything that was as popular in the mainstream as that movie was couldn't be good. Thought the same about Harry Potter for awhile, and now we own all the books and the movies...but I digress.

Enter a painfully empty weekend circa 1999 and a copy of Titanic borrowed from the library.
That night, cue the nightmares.

I must've dreamed about drowning for a week, maybe as long as a month. Leo did not feature in my dreams, the ship and the water did. It was a vision that also invaded my daydreams (day-mares?) and drove me at times to distraction. To put it mildly, it was unsettling. I can't imagine my poor head if I'd seen it on the big screen.

I don't know why it affected me so strongly. If I believed in reincarnation I would guess I was on the Titanic in a previous life. And that I didn't make it. I still haven't been able to watch it again.

Several years later, enter the book Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. Here was another wildly popular story.
Of course I tried to resist. I didn't have time for it, and respected reviews by other moms that called it simply mediocre at best. I still respect those views.

But it seems like everyone has been talking about it, even more now because of the movie release, so though I have never been into vampire stories at all, I figured I could at least look at the book. It felt like giving in when I decided to read Twilight. With a resigned sigh, I put my card number on the library waiting list. When I finally got the notice that my copy was being held, I managed to wait until our regular library day to pick it up. It was a brand new copy with the new cover, a picture from the movie instead of the hands holding an apple on the original. "Cheesy," I said to myself. But I checked it out all the same.

It sat in my library bag nearly a week before I remembered I had it. As soon as I pulled it out, just held it in my hands and looked at that cover, on a cold snowy evening when I had jobs to procrastinate, I knew I'd better get comfortable because I was going to have to read it straight through. And I did.

Now I have to honestly say....

I liked it. A lot. Loved it, even.
As one blog reviewer labeled women like me, I am now officially considered a "loser housewife". So be it. Make me a badge and show me where to sign the membership card for the should-be-old-enough-to-know-better club.

Mr. Malaprop thinks I am hilarious. Yes, yes I am.

So why? Why did I like it? I'm not sure. Maybe I just needed a mini-vacation from reality and this fit the bill. Maybe I liked Cedric Diggory more than I thought (not all that much) and couldn't stop picturing him as a vampire. (Okay, his real name is Robert Pattinson, but he'll always be Cedric to me.) Maybe it's the James Dean/Marlon Brando kind of complex many women have - you know, liking the bad boy, especially when he's trying to be good?

I know part of it is that I was reading the story without analyzing it. Just going along for the ride. Pure entertainment.

Do I want my kids reading it? Well, no. My eldest is 14 and a boy, and when he asked about it I told him what I thought: It's an escapist romance novel written for girls, and I didn't think he'd like it much. I said it has an exciting part near the end, but that he'd have to wade through a lot of relationship stuff that likely wouldn't interest him and isn't applicable in any way to where he is in his life right now. That made sense to him. But it isn't like guys don't read the Twilight books.

Does it have any redeeming value, ala Harry Potter? I don't think so. But so far I've only read the one, and there are four.
Is it well written? Not especially. The narration is first person, which makes for stilted phrasing at times. I was impressed with some of the vocabulary considering the teen audience it's marketed to. And the heroine likes Jane Austen.

Will I go to see the movie, that is supposedly so awful that it's good? Uh, YEAH. But I will go sheepishly and probably by myself.

And I will probably dream about it afterwards.

1 comment:

Holli said...

Great post, Stacie. I was on the waiting list for Twilight at the library too. But I turned it down because I had a friend (a mother of a teen girl) who had all four, and next time I saw her would get to borrow. So I gave up my spot for someone else who couldn't wait. I look forward to reading, just to see what the hype is all about. Who knows what my verdict will be.