August 14, 2008

Teenage Vampire Love Story? I'm In!

We are hitting our midsummer stride here in Southern California and the days are feeling lazy lately. I needed to get out of the house and kill a little time, so I headed to the bookstore down the street. I meandered the aisles with an iced latte in my hands, feeling relaxed and dreamy as being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books does to me. My last three books have been The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Infinite Jest and Love in the Time of Cholera. I needed something fast paced, something decadent and maybe, just the slightest bit trashy.

I don't read books with gold or silver foil on the covers or with authors names that are in a larger font than the title. I was a Lit major and have a masters degree in writing (nearly) so just like chefs can't stomach McDonald's, the ability to enjoy a badly written book, even if smut is what I'm looking for, was stripped from me years ago. It's more an annoyance than anything and I can't get past all the broken rules and lack of style.

In the front of the teen section the display for the Twilight series, by Stephanie Meyer, in all black, red and white lured me like a White Stripes album. The covers are shiny, but the books are thick, around 500 pages a piece. I've heard the buzz lately, teenage vampire stories, being made into a movie, everyone from Goth teens to soccer moms are digging it. I was skeptical. But...I like vampires, a lot actually, just a little less than zombies as horror flicks go and probably more in written form. And I have a lot of free time lately, so a series would keep me occupied for a while. So I bought the first book in the series, aptly named - Twilight.

The prose is clumsy, she uses generic modifiers and cliche descriptions. She describes facial expressions entirely too much and treats her audience like they have amnesia (his skin is ice cold - we get it! He's a vampire!). Also I found the female protagonist a little dense and was annoyed that she couldn't take care of herself better, she falls all over the place and gets herself into bad situations because she makes poor choices.
AND WITH ALL THIS...I could not put it down! After about two chapters I was reading Neverending Story style - minus the school attic and thunderstorm (we don't get those here). Pile of dishes in the sink, email back log, empty fridge? Forget it. I had to know what was going to happen next. I finished all 498 pages in one sitting.

What Meyers does so well is create an extremely realistic high school relationship, except one of them happens to be a vampire. The obsession that is never as intense as that first crush, the complete consumption of your mind by that one person, the physical pain when they aren't near you is perfectly represented in this book. I was stunned at how emotionally invested I was in these characters.

It's not literature, but it is damn good entertainment. I will certainly be back to that bookstore for the sequel very soon.


Anonymous said...

have you seen previews for hbo's true blood? i know hbo is hard to come by but if you can stream it, it looks interesting...see you soon!

Anonymous said...

It's written by a Mormon housewife, Sara... a MORMON HOUSEWIFE!