Twilight, I am willing!
December 7, 2009
Twilight, I am willing. I am not a books snob. Until I had children and lost much of my appetite for gore, my preferred secret vice reading was serial killer compendia and other pulpy true crimes. And I loves me some vampires. Vampires and teenagers? I was a huge fan of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so sure, sign me up. Although I’m not the target market for the Twilight series, I’m betting they do a pretty brisk trade selling to moms in search of after-hours escapist reading. Supernatural snogging is now in fact a whole subcategory of the romance genre, and likely that’s in no small part thanks to Twilight author Stephanie Meyer (with props to Anne Rice).
All this just to say that when a friend mentioned a little abashedly she’d been reading–and enjoying–Twilight, I saw my chance to find out what all the fuss was about without spending any actual money or putting my name on the wait list at the library, which would surely come back to haunt me. (Though I imagine I already sullied my reputation there some five years ago when I stood at the checkout counter with a stack of childrearing manuals topped with one serial killer book–just a little one for nostalgia’s sake before committing myself to more wholesome interests–and the librarian scanned my card, looked up at me, and said, “Are you the writer June Spence?” Words I have seldom heard and which should have thrilled me but for my unfortunate selection. It was not so much the serial killer book itself, but the book within the context of the others that I felt exposed me as a freakish, unfit mother-to-be.)
I’m about fifty pages in, and so far, here is my problem: I don’t yet believe in the mortals, much less the vampires. The narrator, Bella, has left her mother in sunny Phoenix to live with her police chief father in the wet, wintry, podunk town of Forks in Washington State, where she was born but because she despised it so has not visited for the past three years. (And her mother despised it so much she apparently abandoned the marriage over it, I think so that the dad needn’t have any shortcomings other than being hopelessly provincial.) Something about wanting her mom to be free to travel with her new boyfriend is suggested to be behind this choice, but she’s 16 (17?), soon enough to be out of her mother’s hair. At that age I’d have poured all my energy into convincing my mom she could leave me for overnight trips, then converted our house into an adolescent speakeasy. In fact, that’s pretty much what I did.
But no, selfless, noble Bella volunteers to exile herself, and while she doesn’t seem to have left any friends behind, she’s immediately escorted to her classes in strangely archaic fashion by her new classmates and welcomed to a lunch table and rather tidily folded into a peer group of apparent normals from which she can view the handsome though pallid Edward and learn that he and his equally pale and aristocratic-looking crew are the school’s outcasts. But get this: Bella, though Phoenix-raised, is also pale! So they’ve got that in common. There are some intense, confusing stares and even glares passing between them. I left off in the middle of Edward using uncanny strength and speed to save Bella from being hit by a car, which is bound to bring them together.
I’m only fifty pages in; the book is almost 500 pages long. My interest is flagging, but I can give it another fifty before moving on. I want my vampire romance!