Saturday, January 19, 2008

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer: A Book Junkie Review

About three things I am absolutely positive.
First, Edward is a fictional character.
Second, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.
Third, despite the fact that I’m a real-life married stay-at-home mom of three, somehow, this could work between us...

My date with destiny began on an uncommonly cold January evening--a Sunday, depressing by anyone’s standards, but for some reason I was unhappier than usual. Perhaps it was the bout of stomach flu I felt coming on, or the feeling that my life held no meaning. Things took a turn when Anthony arrived home from work. He found me on my knees, scrubbing the kids' vomit from the game room carpet. He tossed me a clear, plastic grocery bag, weighted by a book. It was Twilight, by Stephenie Meyers. My stomach churned. Was it the book, or something else? To this day, I shall never know, although I had been running a fever.

If I had known that a vampire named Edward would cause my pulse to race, my palms to break out in cold sweats, and keep me up until 3AM, perhaps I would have never opened the book, and its spine would still be taut with disuse. (In fairness, again, all of that could have been caused by the fever.)

What’s the premise of the book, you ask? For those of you who don't know:

Bella Swan needs sunshine like preteen-boys need an Xbox 360, but even more than that, she needs to please her self-centered mother. So, giving her recently remarried mother the freedom she desires, Bella leaves behind the thriving metropolis that is Phoenix, to live with her father in Washington State. Little does she know that in the rainy and fog soaked town of Forks, located in Washington’s Olympic peninsula, a family of vampires resides.

On her first day at her new high school, she notices a group of pale skinned rare-beauties sitting together at a lunch table… not eating. No big deal, right? A common sight, really. WRONG! They’re vampires, but the whole thing is really hush-hush, shhhhhhh, nobody knows. Also unbeknownst to Bella is the fact that one boy from the group, the deliciously handsome Edward, immediately lusts after her blood—something that vampires-living-as-humans must control very carefully. However, his secret begins to unravel when he saves Bella from certain death, using abilities that no human could possibly possess. Bella begins a dangerous dance with the devil as she falls unconditionally and irrevocably in love with a vampire who thirsts for her blood. Oh yeah, he loves her, too, I guess.

It was a “just one more chapter” kind of book. A “just one more chapter, because Edward wasn’t in that last chapter but maybe he’ll be in the next one” kind of book. A “just one more chapter, because, even though Edward was in that last chapter, it sounds like he’ll be in the next one, too, because he said he’d be at school the next day. HE PROMISED HE WOULD BE THERE! EDWARD DOES NOT BREAK HIS PROMISES!”

However, by 3AM, since I had to take my son with the unbeatable immune system to school in a few hours, I finally put the book down and went to bed. But I tossed and turned all night. I could smell the book’s scent from its resting place on my nightstand. I wonder what Edward is up to?”

Fighting through one of those killer head aches that come from lack of sleep, I finished the book the next morning. About two thirds into the book, it turned into a suspenseful thriller that, although captivating, did not distract me from Edward--scanning the pages ahead, looking for his name, counting how many pages I had to read before Edward came back, reading as fast as I could, but it wasn't fast enough, and then finally... I have a reason to breathe.

I have to thank Cristin for bringing this book to my attention. I also recommend it toeveryone else, based solely on Edward. To be balanced, here are a few of the things in the book that made me go, "Whoa, wha... ?"

1) The idea that vampires, who have been alive for at least a hundred years, were repeating their junior and senior year of high school, over and over, at different schools. Can you say "living hell?" What kind of sick-o would you have to be to subject yourself to that? I mean, not that I have bad memories of high school or anything, I can barely even remember it, it’s all suppressed now, but even if you loved high school, wouldn’t you go crazy after, say 30 years... or 40... or 50... or 100 years? They couldn't even develop friendships, or any kind of social relationship with the other students, because they’re vampires and it was too dangerous, so they are basically just participated in the educational aspect of high school, but went to the same classes, year after year, and learned the same stuff over and over. Supposedly this was some sort of cover for the vampires so they could stay in one place for an extended period of time, but those extra two years they got out of it hardly seemed worth repeating the prom 100 times. I thought it was a bit contrived.

(Prom pictures, and other high school dances that were fun at the time but experiences we wouldn't want to live through twice, let alone 99, times:)

OK, maybe some of us would like to relive prom:

2) Though my love for Edward was unconditional, I still longed to reach into the pages of my book, pry open his mouth, and shove those fake jellybean chill pills you can get at Spenser’s Gifts down his throat. He was angry then pleasant then angry then laughing then angry then loving, all in the space of one page. Bella was no different. Let it go, Bella. Let it go. Edward is way out of your league as it is. You are in no position to be angry at him because he wants to take his car to school today. He's a hot vampire who has saved your life more than once, and you're throwing a fit because you want to drive?

3) If you can't tell, I didn't particularly love Bella--she was just OK. I’m just going to come out and say that I despise her name, though I know that’s not her fault. It’s a presumptuous name that should be reserved for cats with dietary problems. (Just my opinion. All of you who love the name, have a daughter/sister/mother with the name, please accept my sincerest apology).

Cat named Bella:

4) I'll try not to give away the circumstances, but there was a crossroads in the book when they needed to leave Forks. All I kept thinking was, "
please don’t take the dark and mysterious vampires to Phoenix, please don’t take the dark and mysterious vampires to Phoenix, please don’t take the dark and mysterious vampires to Phoenix…" Next thing I know, they were boarding a plane for Phoenix. Nothing personal against Arizona, but you don't take vampires there.

Forks, Washington; where vampires live:

Phoenix, Arizona; where ordinary people live:

BTW, these are the actors set to play Bella (Kristin Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) in the movie:

Bella is prettier than I had imagined, and the Edward I had imagined in my head cannot translate to real life so Cedric Diggory will have to do.

For those of you who made it all the way through that, here is a special treat: my favorite quotes taken out of context...

“The smell of his breath made it impossible to think.” --319

“’If you let anything happen to yourself—anything at all—I’m holding you personally responsible.’” –388 (<--sounds reasonable to me)


Cristin said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!! I'm sorry but things would not work out with you and Edward because he's MINE! I'm embarrassed to say this but I've read the 3 books twice since I got them for Christmas. I have to keep going back and reliving it. I do like Bella only because I see myself so much in her so how could I not love her????? Did you read the next two yet??? You'll be very sad in the 2nd book not nearly enough Edward in them...not even close! I too thought reliving High School would be a personal hell but I guess you would get used to it.

sarastrasser said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Edward. I feel a huge hole in my body when he is not on that page and I have to wrap my arms around me to keep me from falling apart. Morgan understands that I love him too but it more like how Bella loves Jacob. J/K Morgan, J/K. At first I was thinking, "oh that would be great to relive my junior and senoir year over and over!" But then Jenny posted that picture of me and Long Duck Dong at homecoming and I suddenly changed my mind. Morgan is now reading the book. He claims he has nothing better to due because the time machine he was working on failed, but I think he just wanted to size up the competetion. Please!

Emily said...

That was really fun to read. Jenny, I think YOU need to write a book. I guess I need to pick that book up again and finish it. Thanks for the Sunday afternoon entertainment.

Morgan along with every other straight man in the world! said...

I tried to read it but it was too slow moving for me. Not necessarily a bad thing though as I don't fit into the target demographic of the reader. I made it 120 pages in and just could not relate to the main character, and since the book was written entirely in the first person I gave up. My issue, from what I have been told, was that I could not immagine myself hopelessly in love with Edward!
I did find the book to flow well and for the most part it seemed to be well written.

Webster's Dictionary said...

I do hope that things work out between all of you and Eddy!

I should also add that within 120 pages I too came to the same conclusion that Cedric would represent Eddy most acurately in the film!

I do feel that the "Bionic Woman" does not accuratly serve the part of Bella. It should have been Ashley Judd or the girl from "Beetle Juice," if that was not the same person.

Same as the last comment! said...

Oops, I accidentlly gave up the mystery of my alter-ego. That last comment was from none other than...
Ahhhggghh...(Stabbed in the chest with finely honed point of a #2 pencil. He peared down expecting a more devastating wound only to find the hand of a seemingly innoscent woman whose knuckles, white with conviction, held steadfastly and yet resolutely to the offensive end. He knew that the next phrase, as profound as it was, would require the last bit of air that would ever leave his now blood filled lungs.
"What the...)"

Vegas Family said...

Edward sounds amazing. I guess I need to make some time for a good book. Great review.

Erin Beck said...

Im sorry I could not read your book reveiw. It was to long and i was getting bored so I guess I wouldnt enjoy the book. I do however, love your prom pictures and I love that exquisit blue dress mom made for you from her curtains in her room.

Katie or Tom said...

TIT-are you guys still blogging? Doesn't anybody work?

ajesplin said...

Erin, your honesty is refreshing. How many times have I opened your blog, seen a few pages of smallish type, scanned the first few lines, and then scrolled quickly to the comments, and wrote, “Thanks for sharing! I read the whole thing, and it was interesting/fun to read/thrilling/sounds like fun.” (<--all red flags, BTW). But no more. From now on, I’ll be straight with you, too. Love ya!

Markie23 said...

How many prom's did you go to?? Did you repeat your senior year several times? I was starting to wonder if maybe you were a vampire constantly repeating your Junior and Senior year, but then I recognized those green legs, and remembered... You're a leprechaun.
Still your biggest fan... Uncle Mark.

Amy Thurston said...

I was just going to comment on the mystery of the leprachaun too, Mark. I am glad that the tights were able to be used more than once. That is the whole problem with prom outfits, you usually only get to wear them once.

Michelle said...

Great books - loved all three of them! Can't wait for the first movie.