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!!"