I have a problem. Every time I go to buy a fun, distracting book, I come home with a handful of depressing, literarti treatises on the misery of life. It’s not my fault. It’s just my natural persuasion; on my bookshelf As I Lay Dying sits next to Rape: A Love Story. When it comes to holiday reading, I really have to stop myself and think. Do I really want to read In Cold Blood relaxing in summery Japan?
So, you know that book called Twilight… I finally read it. Waiting in line at the bookstore with yet another handful of books destined for intellectual snobbery, I spotted the all too familiar cover of two white hands holding a red apple. It was like seeing that really popular girl at school in the shopping centre, with perfect blonde hair and great clothes, while my books dawdled home from the library, with a frumptastic look of socks and sandals. There and then I decided that I would read Twilight. But I didn’t want anyone to know. After all, what would it do to my reputation as a serious literary reviewer if anyone caught me red handed. I surreptitiously added the book to my stockpile and paid, placing it at the bottom of my bag. It was quickly transferred to my luggage, only to be opened upon reaching the airport.
I read 167 pages in the space between when Qantas said my flight would leave and when my flight actually left two hours later. Snuggling behind a bin was the only way to make sure my face wouldn’t be recognised. When I got on the plane, with Twilight in hand, of course I ended up sitting next to a young man reading three books by Primo Levi at the same time. When the conversation turned around to what we were reading, I quickly added that ‘I don’t normally read these sort of things…’
I feel bad for saying that, because I liked the book. Sexy vampires are my sort of thing, especially when they fall for nerdy, clutzy girls because they ‘smell nice’. (I smell nice. I use Coco Mademoiselle.)
Upon arriving in Tokyo, I encounted a lovely girl in my hostel that turned out to be a bit of a fan. When I say bit, perhaps I mean big fan. ‘It gets better,’ she assured me. ‘Have you figured out who the Indians are?’ I took a wild guess and said ‘Werewolves?’ Of course, vampires have never had problems with werewolves in the past. And no, there was never a show called Buffy where a high school girl fell in love with a mysterious, sexy, helpful vampire only to have him turn crazy when they had sex for the first time because she was giving him his humanity back or something like that.
Like Angel (and possibly Spike in very small amounts), the vampires in the world of Stephanie Meyer have a sort of undefinable conscience. They don’t eat humans, but they certainly won’t be going on PETA’s Christmas card list. They’ve been alive for some time now, and carry with them an olde-worlde charm that seems to be missing from so many of the males today, at least in Forks, that is. They also don’t turn into a pile of ashes in sunlight. They… ahem… sparkle.
The only thing that bugged me was that Bella never has any problems with the idea that vampires exist. Of course they do. They go to school. They play baseball. And they seek relationships with mortals that are so clearly below their level that it seems almost like a charity date. But I can look past that. I really do want to see past that, just in case some sexy vampire comes my way. My clutzy, nerdy, smelly way.