Monday, April 21, 2008

Werewolves and Vampires, Oh Yeah!

I once read an Anne Rice novel, just to see what all the fuss was about. I didn't like it -- too steamy and suffocating. I know some teens like them, but i have only one in my school library. Teens may read anything they can get their hands on, but I'm selective in what I offer and encourage. And so I resisted the lure of
Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga, though I did buy them for the school, since they were so popular and had gotten some acclaim in the press. But because we're a boys' school, I didn't know whether anyone would read them. But then this spring one voracious reader in the ninth grade checked out the first one, then the second.... and two more boys followed, and so I decided to jump in for a taste. And boy, was I hooked! Or should I say "bitten"? (Nah.)

Because of the Pacific Northwest setting of dark conifers, fog and mist and the coast, I found the atmosphere much more to my liking than that of the steamy Rice world. Since I've been to the Oregon coast and fallen in love with it, I also loved traveling mentally up to the Olympic Peninsula and living in the tiny (but now very famous) logging town of Forks, Washington, and the ocean-bounded Quileute reservation just down the road.

The long-ago teen age girl inside of me can still relate to a teen romance, if it's gripping and decently written. i found Bella Swan, the heroine, a sympathetic character and have now enjoyed the three existing books and, like many teens, am eagerly awaiting the August 2 release of the fourth, Breaking Dawn.
Meyers writes very easily and well and certainly remembers HER inner teen (and is still close enough in age to them to remember well.) The writing and the back stories occasionally get a bit loose and shaggy, but on the whole I love the books. They're a fast read, all 400 - 600 pages of each one. She's not Henry James, or even Edith Wharton but is convincing and readable, if you can enjoy a story that's half realistic and half-supernatural. I still don't see the allure of vampires and am much more attracted to the Quileute teen boys who burst from their skins into hairy dogs, which I always picture as over-sized German Shepherds, like my wonderful granddogs. After finishing Eclipse, which had a surprisingly nuanced resolution, I dreamed of large dogs.

When you read Stephenie's website you learn that Jacob, the werewolf who's been Bella's best friend for years, was originally intended to be a minor character. His part grew and he became part of a love triangle. I'm sure Edward (the vampire) will win in the end, but I do root for Jacob.

1 comment:

Beckyb said...

Oh how I echo you!!! Just finished Twilight myself and LOVED it - good read! Oh to smell so good, huh!?!?!? :)