Twilight (possible spoiler alert)
My book club chose Twilight for December. Kate picked it because she didn’t care for the heroine or her relationship with the hero. It was a little too “old school” for her taste (as in she felt the heroine was a bit doormat-ish and the hero was a bit of a mysogynist). Another reason we picked it is that it’s a fast read. Despite the 500+ pages, the font size is pretty big and the reading pretty light. The vocabulary isn’t overly simple, though, which I liked. We wanted to pick a book we could finish before the holidays so we could squeeze a meeting into December.
Kate’s reason for suggesting a book she disliked was that we all loved The Sex Lives of Cannibals, so our book club conversation went a bit like this:
Claire: Remember that part about the plan and boat trips?
Elizabeth: That was hilarious!
Kate: I loved that part, but I felt bad about the dogs.
Heather: I really enjoyed the ethnography. I don’t usually get to read fun books that also relate to my field of study. Usually they’re dry and dull.
Heather’s mom: I’ve only read chapter one, but I can’t wait to read the rest.
Well, that’s not verbatim, but you get the idea. I reminded me of a few critiques in art class when everyone loved the piece. We just sat around complimenting it and no one learned anything. When we read Eat, Pray, Love, we had more diverse opinions, so our conversation was more book oriented and less “what have you been up to since last meeting” oriented.
Anyway, back to Twilight. Kate couldn’t understand why so many people love this book. Having read it, I totally can. While it’s not my preferred genre (I’m not generally into the teen romance/vampire books), I thought the voice of the heroine was very believable as a 17-year-old high school student with your standard identity issues. She’s not overly confident and is plagued by pretty traditional teen angst. It’s not over the top, though. It read as a true depiction of high school issues and the breathless giddiness of first love (assuming you fell in love with a vampire). The hero is actually pretty nice (for an angst-filled vampire in love with his food), and the heroine actually stands up to him, and even bosses him around quite a bit. Sure, she questions herself a lot, but she’s pretty tenacious when she sets her mind to something. She’s also smart, which is a plus. I could see teenage girls (and their mothers, apparently) really enjoying the romance, which is fairly appropriate for the age, I think, and the antagonistic flirting from both characters. It’s full of all kinds of tension, which I think some readers may find more appealing than others. Also, anyone who has been a teenage girl in high school could probably relate to a lot of Bella’s angst. She was a bit martyr-y for a bit, there (oh, no boys like me, oh, I don’t fit in… That kind of thing), but weren’t we all.
So I enjoyed the book. Our meeting isn’t until the 17th (or is it 18th?), so I hope I can remember all of that until then… I don’t feel compelled to read the rest of the series. I have a funny feeling it goes a little something like this (possible spoiler. Assuming I have maintained my uncanny ability to predict plots):
Bella: Turn me into a vampire.
Bella: But I want to be with you forever and not get old and die.
Edward: I’d feel bad taking away your humanity and subjecting you to a life as a monster.
Bella: But you’re not a monster. Now turn me into a vampire.
Edward: No. But I’ll kiss you and distract you.
Bella: Well, okay until chapter 2.
Oh, and somewhere in there, Bella’s life gets threatened and Edward has to save her. Make that several times, because she’s a klutz and it makes for drama. Oh, and Edward’s life might be threatened too (better yet, because of Bella in some way), so she feels she has to try to save him as well. If I was into the genre (or hell, if someone lent me the books, and I wasn’t so damn far behind on my reading list), I might read the rest just for kicks. But it’s not like I have an overwhelming need to know what happens next (unlike some stories that I just can’t get enough of… *cough* Dexter *cough*)
One thing I did find annoying was the excerpt/teaser for book 2 in the back. Here’s more spoiler, and I’m ending on it, so don’t read any farther if you don’t want to know yet. They end the excerpt with Bella at Edward’s house with his family. She gets a paper cut which somehow sets off crazy bloodlust, and then we end with her in a pile of broken glass gushing blood and surrounded by hungry vampires. Really? You think that will make me feel compelled to buy the book? It’s a 4 book series and this excerpt ends on page 20 or so of book 2. They can’t eat the lead character. What would the rest of the books be about? I’m not at all worried for her.