Twilight (Twilight, #1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Stephanie Meyer has noted that each of the novels in the Twilight Saga pays homage to other literary classics. For Twilight, she has said Pride and Prejudice was the key inspiration. Well, I suppose it isn’t any worse than some of the other P&P fanfic out there. Beyond the superficial – the relationship of Bella and her father, a mother prone to hystrionics, a boyfriend who goes out of his way to avoid her (at first), and a passionate love that develops out of very little substance, oh, and a few letters thrown in here and there – there is no comparison. Bella is no Elizabeth Bennet. She is a very insecure teenager who seems to have a classic martyr complex. While Edward is a creepy stalker, made somehow wholesome by the fact that he abstains from human blood.

I assigned this book to a local book club of Red Hat ladies because of its popularity. I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise, they all loved it! What is the appeal, I asked, because I don’t get it. It’s spiritual, one woman replied. It opens you up to the paranormal – I like the idea that there are things out there that we don’t know about. Okay, I get that. It’s a fantasy. On the other hand, these women will tell you that they don’t “like” the fantasy genre. We all have fantasies about flirting with danger. I think the idea of becoming immortal also has a certain appeal. But I still don’t get the romance. I failed to understand what the characters saw in each other. Silly me, wanting some depth of character. It had about as much substance as Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks, which I read for the same book club, not too long ago. And that one, we all agreed, was “fluff.” A quick and easy book for a day at the beach – no thinking required.

Perhaps a few Twilight fans will go on to read Pride and Prejudice. Harper has come out with a new “Twilight” edition of classics aimed at teen readers with covers reminiscent of the Twilight series. And will Pride and Prejudice fans turn to the likes of “Mr. Darcy, Vampire”? I have to admit that there is a certain logic behind imagining the haughty and stone-faced Fitzwilliam Darcy as a vampire.

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