Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving is sort of an odd holiday, I think. It's a day that's dedicated to spending time with friends and family... though there's nothing to really *do.* Not counting the actual meal - which takes all in all what, maybe an hour to eat? - my family doesn't really have any traditions or activities anymore that we do on Thanksgiving. I mean, the parade and the football games are on TV, but that doesn't mean that we're all watching them. So then it becomes this awkward dilemma of what to do with your family when your family's not doing anything.

So I read Twilight.

Let me explain myself. Everyone was aware that the movie opened this weekend, right? We looked at the box office in my industry class on Tuesday, like we always do, knowing Twilight was going to be the big winner. The movie recouped its costs in one weekend. On a budget of $37 million, it's made, in less than a week, a worldwide gross on $90 million. But really, that wasn't what made up my mind to read the book. We all knew it was going to be a smash hit. The producers were actually smiling weeks before it was released.

No, what made me pick up Twilight for my recreational holiday reading could be encapsulated in one story. My industry professor went to see the movie with his wife opening weekend, and he told us there was a woman sitting next to them who flat out sobbed for an hour during the movie. Unashamed. Stories like those, and hearing from anyone who's ever picked it up and read it in under 48 hours that it's amazing, convinced me that I needed to experience this phenomen first hand, if solely from a storyteller's perspective. What is it about this book that has stirred so many people, from all different age groups? I'm really sorry, Robert Pattinson, but I don't think it's just you, despite what all the girls in my industry class say. You're not that devastatingly beautiful.

So I read it. And here's my opinion of the book:

The last 350 pages were good. That was when things actually started happening. I got caught up in those and really enjoyed the story there. The first 350 pages ran something like this --

I hated Forks. If only I hadn't come to this miserable gloomy place where every single boy is subtly trying to ask me out. Then there's Edward Cullen, blindingly beautiful, but for a hundred pages all we exchange are trite hellos while I wonder why he secretly hates me. Luckily, after I find out he's a vampire, we talk. A lot. We spend hours and hours in the car just asking each other questions about our lives, how this whole vampire thing works, him marveling at the fact that I'm not afraid, me wondering how he would ever pick a normal girl like me, each conversation ending with me staggering out of the car, gripping onto the door for support, hoping that I don't trip in my incapacitated by his very presence state.

I'm not saying it was a bad book. It was good. I enjoyed it. I'll probably read the others over Christmas break. I'll almost definitely watch the movie at some point, to make my case study complete. But I'm not sure I've got it yet - what it is that made this such a phenomenon. I think I'm going to start asking people, but if everyone answers, "Because Edward Cullen is amazingly perfect," I may renounce the books altogether.

(I don't know, maybe that results from my cynicism on love stories, and how they're the most difficult to write. Let me just say that I thought the relationship was only nominally interesting/believable until the end.)

1 comment:

Liza said...

I feel like the reason I liked Twilight was because it was like eating candy - you know it's just cheap sugary goodness, but it's still delicious. That's the only analogy I've got for you.

But from a feminist standpoint, I have to say the book and the movie sort of disturbed me. I mean, Bella is just so hopeless that I have to wonder what the movie industry is teaching women about Love. If you walk around breathless,moody and depressed, you too could fall in love with a perfect and gorgeous vampire! I don't know if I buy it. But I will probably finish the books series because I hear Breaking Dawn is amazing.