Wednesday, September 12, 2018

True Confession: I liked Twilight

This is hard for me. See, I'm a book snob, studied literature in college, wax enthusiastic in deep lit-crit conversations. My favorite writer ever is John Freakin Keats. In other words, I'm not a person who should have enjoyed Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books. At all.

But -- yow, am I really saying this? -- I did.

Here's how it went down. Hubs, toddlers, and I were going to the coast for a vacation. Having lacked a free nanosecond since these children were born, I was positive I wasn't going to get any time to indulge in something so selfish as reading. I figured the week would be jellyfish avoidance, sunscreen application, and diaper changing 24/7.

Hubs did advise me to bring a book. I don't need a book, I said. I'll just bring this ancient pink GameBoy and play a spot of Tetris if I somehow manage to steal ten minutes of me-time.

Turned out I got just that. True fact: the Corpus Christi area of Texas is imbued with some magical time-dialation vortex. The toddlers played unburnt and unstung and came back to the condo and slept like, well, babies.

And I was bored.

Now, what happened next isn't some attempt to avoid self-incrimination. I sincerely have no idea who uploaded bootleg copies of the first two Twilight books onto my GameBoy. Whoever it was clearly did not have my best interests at heart. Reading low-res black-on-gray and having to right-rocker-button every 200 words through an entire book does not a pleasant user experience make.

But the books had me from scene one (gory vampire fight in a mirrored-all-over dance studio! Right there with you, Stephenie!). I zoomed through them. Found a book store in town and bought the rest of the series. Using actual money. Even purchased the first two books that I'd already read (because, bootleg files aside, I'm not a complete scumbag).

Yes, I inhaled the whole crazy, first-person, teen-angst bizarre-ass story through my eyeballs and then sat upstairs in the condo wondering Oh My God What Did I Just Read?

I mean, vampires, obviously. And I do love me some vamps. Dracula, I am down with you. Lestat, too. But... whiny, unlikable teenage girl getting stalked by creepy old dude who gets off on sniffing her?! And the most outstanding qualities of said whiny teenage girl also happen to be clumsiness and the ability to function as a null within a universe of thinking, feeling beings? THIS WAS NOT MY SNOBBY-READER SCENE!

I'm still not sure what I enjoyed so much about these books. It might have been the accessible language, the teen soap-opera quality of it all, or that scene late in the series when we get Jacob's POV and he says everything that was in my own mind: I have no idea why I love Bella so much as she is totally not lovable and kind of cruel and self-centered and actually might be killing my brain cells at this very moment yet here I am loving her despite. It might also have been the magic time-dilating vortex hovering over Corpus Christi. (Totally a thing. Believe it!)

Regardless, I did not in any way intend to love the Twilight books. But like them unexpectedly I did.


  1. Sometimes books are total crack and it's not always clear why. I loved them, too! Meyer totally tapped into some kind of subconscious magic. I can offer analyses of why, but maybe it's just enough to know that it's there. :-)

    1. Exactly! We have a little book club here in Austin where we read these "crack" books and try to figure out what the connection points with readers were. Last month we read 50 Shades. I'm so sorry I missed that discussion because I still haven't figured out its particular magic. :)

    2. That's so smart! If you got the RWA Downloads, the Barnes talk about writing to the Id gets into this exact thing :-)