Thursday, February 26, 2009

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I wanted to dislike this book. No particular reason why - I guess just all the hype. Plus I had heard the rags to riches story of the author: she had a memorable dream, she sat down and wrote, three years later she has four published books in the saga and a Hollywood movie with lots of bohunk stars to her credit. It couldn't be *that* good, could it? I have picked it up a dozen times at the store and put it back down. But, when I found a trade paperback copy for $5.99 I was willing to buy it. My copy in hand I discovered that Twilight has been recognized "One of the best books of the decade... so far." Really? Why?

I picked up the book for my train ride on Tuesday morning. I read for 20+ minutes both train rides, read at bedtime that evening, and then finished the book on Wednesday. My point is that the book is a very quick read. The 500 or so pages were not hard to get through, which probably suggests part of the book's popularity. The writing style is not deep, which makes it a very good young adult novel. But, the key to this book's popularity is the plot.

1. Vampire
2. Vampire + young girl = love affair.
3. Vampire and young girl can't touch or do anything adulterous = ideal young adult story
Romance, vampires, and innocent love - what else does a book need to be a best seller? Apparently not much.

Don't get me wrong, I did like Twilight. I willingly sat last night and read the last 200 pages. The story is definitely engaging. Meyer has set up an intriguing story line and empathetic characters. The descriptions of Edward would make anyone want to fall in love with him - a chiseled beautiful male specimen whose skin shines like diamonds in the sunlight? Bella is a fun heroine - not perfect but cute and likable. Plus, Meyer has put a unique-enough twist on all of the diverse vampire legends to not make it a complete rip-off of either Anne Rice or the Buffy series. The interactions between Bella and Edward in the first half of the book are romantic in the true romance sense of the word.

The second half of the book? Meh. It was a bit too cliched for me. I liked the friendships that developed but felt that the bad vampires was an overdone touch to give the love affair a plot to revolve around.

The final consensus: I mentioned to my college students today that I had finished reading Twilight. After all, it was watching them devour the books over the past two months that finally convinced me to start reading. I told them I liked it but didn't think I would pick up the sequels. Their comment: Good choice. The rest are really not worth it.

No comments: