Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight, Pt. 1

Guilty. I was on a TV-free kick and picked up the first of those vampiric love stories, the Twilight series. The book's cover featured hands seductively extending to me the apple of temptation. I was powerless to resist.

The novel irritated me from the start. It gushed about the dazzling beauty of its undead male protagonist, Edward, in the tritest of terms, and contained an entirely undue amount of smoldering and scowling. And, in clear violation of the First Commandment of Narrative Writing, characters were never content to just SAY things. Instead, they chuckled, murmured, giggled, and snorted them. Oh exquisite pain.

And like a bad boyfriend or a rabid pet, I couldn't put the thing down. When I took a breath after finishing all 500-some-odd pages of the first book, I was hooked; by the second, I realized the books had become, to borrow a line from the series, my own personal brand of heroin. I can't remember the exact moment I gave up the fight, but all of a sudden, I found myself taking long walks and subway rides across town and spending exorbitant sums on burnt coffee I didn't want so I could curl up in bookstore cafes, triumphantly cradling the books I was ashamed to buy, but utterly bound to finish.

I don't like to think about the time when the nearest bookstore sold out of Breaking Dawn, the series-concluding volume. I began to sweat and shake--no lie--and purloined time from my studies and work to travel further afield: Union Square, Lincoln Triangle. I wasn't fighting, but I was still wary: after all, my last pointy-fanged kick, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, broke my heart in Season Three. When beautiful Vampire-With-A-Soul Angel left the eponymous heroine, never to return, the romance skyrocketed to the top of my All-Time Tragic Love Stories List.

(And, guys, I'm not a complete flake; other titles topping the list include Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'urbervilles (Tess Durbeyfield and Angel Clare), Victor Hugo's
Les Miserables (Marius Pontmercy and Eponine Thenardier), and Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago (Lara Antipova and Yuri Zhivago)).

Anyhow, I dropped Buffy after that, feeling like the life had gone out of me. After all, how can one live in a world in which a thing like mortality gets in the way of true love? And I was sure Twilight was going to hurt me in the same way. But...It didn't. It ended exactly the way I though it should: happily. I'm a simple soul, but I know what I want.

And for that fact, I forgive all the books' literary flaws. I might even remove my self-imposed prohibition on buying the books. Goodness knows, the opportunity cost of revisiting libraries and stores throughout the city for a re-read is far too high. I still feel a bit guilty for succumbing. The last popular series I read through was Left Behind, half a lifetime ago. (I skipped Harry Potter altogether from sheer inertia).

As a (formerly) teenaged female, Twilight gave me great satisfaction as a swoony, heart-thumping romance. As a moralist, I appreciated the sacrificial love, chaste passion, and good-versus-evil battles. And as a geek, I just plain dig vampires. Even the sparkly kind.

So there you have it. The penultimate paragraph in this post has destroyed my intellectual credibility for all time. But now that I've "outed" myself, I feel a little better about it. Stay tuned...in a forthcoming post, I'll review the movie rendition of Twilight, which I had the lapse in judgment (read: compulsion) to see on a Saturday afternoon of Opening Weekend. Stay classy!

1 Comments:

At 3:42 PM , Blogger Emily Grace said...

I blog-hopped to you from Global Review and when I saw you reviewed Twilight I just had to see what you thought. I laughed out loud because our feelings about the book are so similar. I hope you follow through on your review of the movie. (I, too, had the compulsion to see the movie on that same Saturday.)

 

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