So I might have read Twilight.
Okay, I couldn't put it down and I'm not exactly sure why because the writing is atrocious. I could find excuses -- I was sick last weekend, I regretted having prematurely scoffed at Harry Potter -- but something about this book is appealing even when it shouldn't be.
It's essentially the story of a dangerously co-dependent relationship: Edward, a vampire, and Bella, the only human whose mind he can't read, are obsessed with one another and spend literally all their time together. He even watches her when she sleeps, which would normally be grounds for a cautionary After School Special, but in this case, it's excusable because Bella is constantly imperiled and Edward needs to save her.
Pure wish fulfillment: What could be better to a smitten teenager -- well, technically Edward is about 100 years old but we won't split hairs -- than to have a legitimate reason to always hang out with the person they're dating? Of course, they can't really do all that much because Edward might get aroused and devour her, which results in a sexual tension that is so toe-curling it's hard to believe that a Mormon mom with three young sons wrote it. As a fantasy, it works even if the reality is extremely unhealthy.
Anyway, a week ago, I knew very little about this book other than that it had provoked atotal frenzy (and not just from 15-year-old girls, if the people who saw me reading it in public and stopped to tell me how great it was are any indication). Now I'm hooked. I've watched the trailer countless times and developed several strong opinions.
For one, Catherine Hardwicke is the ideal director. Based on her previous films (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown), it's obvious that she considers herself to be "down" with teenagers and will probably bring some hipness to the characters (in the book, it doesn't seem like anyone's even heard of an iPod).
Kristen Stewart makes a better Bella than the original; she seems self-possessed whereas the character in the book is kind of cranky and petulant. But Nikki Reed as the unattainably gorgeous Rosalie Cullen? I don't see it. And Sisters of Mercy would have been a nice addition to the soundtrack, which instead features Paramore and Linkin Park.
As far as depictions of humane vampires go, this is no Buffy. But it's way better than True Blood. Personally, though, I miss the type of vampire who would to lure you into a cave, trick you into drinking "wine," and expect you to fly around listening to cheesy goth music while terrorizing a sleepy beach town.