Monday, July 28, 2008

And finally, a Twilight post....

WARNING: This post is LONG....

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published, I wasn't underground--I heard all the hype, I read all the reviews, I listened to almost every person within two hundred miles of me raving about this great new book they'd just read. Did I run to the store and grab a copy for myself? No. Not at all. I stubbornly refused to do what everyone else was doing. I didn't want to be standing in line, feverish, when the next one came out, hearing conversations like, "I love Harry, oh, I love him so much, blah blah blah blah blah...."

Why? I guess I'm a book snob. But not in the way it sounds. I suppose that I'm rather selfish about my books--yes. That's it. I want to read it on my own time, after my own deliberation over whether it's even worth my time or not, and then come up with my own opinions about it, without having to mix with others' opinions yet. And it's not just the selfish thing--there's a part of me that resists being that googly-eyed-fan-of-celebrity. I am not one to fall over myself over a celebrity, at least I don't want to be, but maybe it's that secretly I AM a rabid fan! Because once I finally bought the first Harry Potter book, (some time after the fourth one was published) I, too, tensely waited for the next, all the way up to the seventh and (sob) final, when instead of choosing to quietly order it online, rather than stand in line and smile as big as I knew I would be smiling as the cashier picked up that volume of golden words and beeped it across and into my shaky hands, I went to the store. Granted, I didn't wait until midnight the night before. I might do that with Reed when he gets older and The Next Great Work comes along. But I went the same day it came to stores, around dinnertime, and without any other rabid fans watching me, I smilingly picked up my own copy from the gargantuan stacks right at the entrance, read the first sentence in the middle of the store and then clapped it shut. (And just to keep myself grounded, I moved on to the grocery section and bought some milk and eggs.)

So when I hear a book mentioned over and over for a year or more....well, it's then that I decide maybe I would like to amble over to the store and check out a copy for myself. After the fervor has died down. (As for why I don't want to share in the resounding cheer around the world when The Next One comes out, search me. I think I'm just silly.)

Anyway: After hearing soooo much about the Twilight series, I was more than intrigued. It wasn't so much the subject matter of the book that kept piquing my interest. It was the wide variety of opinions:

"I hated it. I thought it was the stupidest book I'd picked up for a long time and set it down after the first page."

"It's life-altering! Mind-blowing. Better than Harry. My favorite books of all time!"

"Well, I didn't like them. But I couldn't stop reading them."

"I liked them, only I didn't like Bella."

"Why is a Mormon writing about vampires?"

"They didn't get anything right. Vampires are not like that at all."

"Why do I like a teenage-lit book so much? I'm the mom of three little children!"

"Why did she write a teenage-lit book? She's the mom of three little children!"

And so on, forever and ever amen.....and it wasn't just the varied opinions that intrigued me, it was that everyone who had read the books wanted to know if you had read them, your reasons for liking or hating them; they wanted to share.

So. I finally caved. I borrowed Twilight from a friend. At first, I wasn't that interested. I kept reading, though, and eventually found that I liked this take on vampires, and liked this take on--what should I call it--teenage science fiction, which is something I rarely venture to read. And actually, I found myself thinking through a range of emotions as Bella experienced a range of emotions. I enjoyed throwing myself into a totally illogical and rather unhealthy romance. (Because sometimes it's just fun.) Then I quietly chastised Bella, thinking, "You dumb girl! Why don't you just move away and live like a normal girl and complete your years as a healthy, well-adjusted, typical human being? Isn't your feeling for Edward nothing but infatuation, anyway? This won't last. What more do you have with him?" Then of course there were times that I completely gave in to the corniest side of myself and shouted internally, "Go ahead! This isn't very smart of you, but he's really sweet and good and great and I'm 17 too! There's not really much real substance to why you love each other, but go for it!"

And with New Moon, I found that my opinions were no less complex. I found myself thinking that she was ridiculous not to just leave Edward as is and stay with Jacob and be safe. Which is hilarious, because how is Jacob any safer than Edward?
(That darn sweet Jacob. Complicates everything.) Obviously this girl has a problem forming healthy, functional relationships. If you were to deconstruct it all to its barest frame, I guess you could say that normal life--safe life, safe & healthy relationships, or even not-so-happy boring relationships--are too boring for Bella. So she delves into non-human pursuits to make up for it. And we delve into the very human pursuit of reading, of letting our imaginations take us away from our so-called "normal" life. (Because sometimes it's just fun.)

I am practically salivating after reading the last word of the last page of New Moon, because I don't yet have Eclipse waiting on the table next to it. I will probably make a quiet, slow trip to the store to pick up a copy. And you can bet I will be online on Friday, (again quietly) making my purchase of The Next One, Breaking Dawn, without the self-conscious embarrassment of people in line with me, also smiling and handing over our treasures to the cashier, watching it with hungry eyes until we have them in our shaky hands again.

Think it's very obvious that I'm rather fond of this happily escapist series?

Go ahead, bloggers across the world. You who love the series, unite and blow me away with a resounding "TOLD YOU SO!!"


Lara said...

I didn't love the series, but I still read them all. And I'll read the new one when it comes. And I read The Host. They were okay. So so. I just couldn't stand Bella's totally whiny ways. I think if I'm going to like a book, I should like the main character somewhat. :)

kathy said...

I read them so fast because I was so anxious to find out what happened. I am really excited to read the next book. My kids have loved them too. Before we know it we will all be reading the next one.

chucknorris said...

you love them?? well i'm happy for you but a little disappointed. maybe it's cuz i've only read the 1rst book so far but i don't know... i liked it and then i didn't! cuz bella's annoying and her and edward are really shallow. i don't know, if you ask me harry potter is still a bajillion times better.

Abby Hanson said...

So, you already know what I think of the series. :) Can't wait for the next one! But I just thought I'd add, my VT companion is a SERIOUS fan, and she told me the other day that Stephenie Meyer didn't WRITE it as a teen novel. It was put into that category because it's ABOUT teens (which is how most fiction is categorized, by the age group of the main character(s), interestingly enough). So it was the publishers who decided that.

I'm surprised others think of Bella as whiny. I really didn't get that. I don't know -- I DO know that I'm very willing to suspend reality to do whatever it takes while reading to make the story real. And for me that meant she was sort of "entitled" to a bit of whinyness or that there were legitimate reasons behind it? That was when I DID see it, but usually I didn't notice that. ALSO, I don't think Edward & Bella's relationship is shallow. I think we're meant to view it as kismet. There's this strong connection that just pulls them to each other no matter what. Oh well. I guess it's obvious I'm a hopeless romantic. :) So be it.

Waynsh said...

Rachel,you crack me up. I think the series is fun, easy to read, and makes me feel young again. BUT there is NO WAY it is better than Harry!! I finally caved, and read them this summer and wasn't disappointed.I sometimes hate jumping on the bandwagon, but glad I did this time. One thing I give kudos to Meyer for, is that it is getting middle aged girls reading. The girls at my school love her, and it will be fun to finally be able to jump in on conversations pertaining to Edward. :)

The Graham Family said...

I LOVED these books!!!! I am also one of those nuts that will be standing in line at midnight to purchase the next one, they totally sucked me in.

Andrea said...

I have read all three that are out, and I really enjoyed Twilight. Did not like New Moon--I wanted Edward to be present. Eclipse was better than New Moon, but I didn't like it as much as Twilight. I too liked Myers take on vampires, but I have to say that I often forgot of them being vampires--it was more just a love story. But, I have to say I was very disappointed in Meyers for the hot and heavy stuff (I think this is mostly in the 3rd book). I knew a bunch of YW 12 and up reading these books, and there is no way I'd want my daughter to read about that. I was glad Edward had morals to keep Bella in check. The swearing also bothered me. If the books hadn't been written by an LDS author, I probably wouldn't have thought much about it. But, since it was, I was bugged.

I am excited to read the next one--I can't imagine Edward killing Bella, so I wonder what'll happen.

Marie said...

I'm glad you liked them! I enjoyed the first two, but I still haven't read the third and it's sitting on my bookshelf, so I apparently wasn't hooked. Edward and Bella drove me nuts...probably because I used to find myself in those unhealthy relationships as a teen. But anyway! I think they're creative and worth reading, least the first two. :) I hope to read Eclipse soon!

camilla said...

I have heard a ton about these books also. So I asked my sister who reads everything. She said she has read all 3, but she doesn't like them. She says they are not well written at all. She keeps reading them because of course she wants to know what happens. But she recommended that I didn't read them. :)

Kristy said...

I really liked them...I wasn't sure I would when my sister said "it's a book about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire...", but I couldn't help myself!

Jenn said...

:) (that's all I have to say)