I've been off-line for a while as I've been on Christmas break in Port Macquarie, the land of beautiful quiet beaches, sunny weather and no broadband. I had a really chilled out time, swimming and running amok at the beach, watching 80's rom coms and 50's melodrama's (was it just me, or were romantic comedies so much better in the 80's?) and reading, amongst other things, Twilight.
So my colleagues of all ages - from 20 to 60 - had been telling me to read the Stephanie Meyer books for yonks. My assistant (who is not yet 21) has been a big fan for some time. I remember her going on about these vampire YA novels she was into, and being only vaguely interested, reasoning that 1. I'm not a teenager and 2. I'm not into vampire anything. At the time her protestations that the books weren't really just about vampires didn't hold much sway with me. But after my colleague Jane got into the books (along with her 16-year-old son), I relented. I reasoned that I couldn't go and see the flick Twilight featuring the scrumptious Robert Pattinson, without first reading the book.
And I've got to say, the book was hopelessly addictive. For mass market fiction, it isn't terribly written, and Meyer must be doing something right, as I couldn't put the thing down. I even started dreaming about hot teen vampires.
For me the aspect of the book that grabbed me and wouldn't let me go was the romance, with all the delicious elements of delayed gratification, star-crossed love (in this case human/vampire love), a dreamy perfect man, teen angst and the whole ordinary girl being 'picked' by the mysterious boy that all the other teen girls covet and the boys fear - expect in this book he is one of the non-dead - a vampire who was actually born over 90 years previous but who still looks 17, and has all the wisdom and experience that comes with those years, plus mystical physical and mental capabilities to boot.
Oh Edward, how I love thee.
Of course I realise that the book completely plays into the age old female fantasy of the ordinary girl being 'chosen' by the extraordinary man, and I could go round in circles on why this fantasy (which may or may not have been encouraged by men in the first place) could be dangerous or at the very least disappointing, but instead I'm going to take the tack that fantasy is an important element in life, and I don't think anyone should be that afraid of the popularity of Twilight - a romance that oozes sexual tension while containing no actual sex, and with quite a realistic portrayal of a teen girl and the highs and lows of first love.
I've got to say that some of the scenes, particularly in the earlier part where Edward is really struggling with his desire for Bella's blood and his love/lust for her, were pretty sexy. I'll be interested to see how she'll sustain the tension through the next three books.
I care not that a lot of it was pure cheese.
As soon as I finished the book I persuaded one of my girlfriends to come and see the flick with me, and I thought it was pretty good and she really enjoyed it as well. The director did a great job re-creating the setting in Washington State in the US, and I thought the two leads were perfect. Robert Pattinson was so gorgeous that my girlfriend and I audibly swooned in a few parts. His beauty is breathtaking. And Kristen Stewart is beautiful too. I think she could become a big star. The movie really was eye candy galore.
What can I say, I've been suckered in. New Moon, here I come.
Twilight is published by Atom, distributed by Hachette.