By Lester Smith | February 25, 2009
Before you break out the stakes and torches, let me briefly lay out my reasons for that opinion.
Balanced against that rereading has been my recent experience with the Twilight series…
My daughter K8 dragged me to the movie on its opening weekend. I didn’t want to go, having read that they were expecting huge box-office receipts based on an audience of “teen girls and their mothers.” For one thing, I have a love/hate relationship with theaters—with having to put up with other people’s chatter while I’m trying to lose myself in a story. For another, having raised four daughters, sometimes I just get tired of romantic tales. (Okay, to be honest, it’s frequently the disjoint of my Army Basic chromosome wanting to kick the ass of the chromosome that’s making my eyes tear up. A man can stand only so many years of that internal conflict.)
The film surprised me. Quite a satisfying tale. Enough so that I wanted to read the book to find out why K8 was disappointed in the movie characters. The desire to read a book after watching a film doesn’t strike me that often. Let me offer this desire as Defense Exhibit A, then.
While the first book annoyed me in places (after all, I’m a 53-year-old guy and the protagonist is a high school gal with teen angst), the love it depicts resonates with my own experience of meeting my wife (a sort of head-on freight train inevitability that carried me to wonderful places once I quit resisting), the characters are so real, the plot builds so nicely, the descriptions leave images in my mind, the action scenes are spot on, the climax is pretty much perfect, and the dénoument unwinds in a more satisfying manner than much I can remember reading elsewhere. To give you more specifics would be to give away spoilers, but I hope you get the idea.
But here’s the clincher—Defense Exhibit B, if you will. I couldn’t put the book down. And once I’d finished Twilight, I had to read New Moon, and then Eclipse, and then Breaking Dawn. I lost quite a bit of sleep for a couple of weeks to finish those books between other projects. And each one unfolded so naturally from the previous one, leading to an ending I never really saw coming, but found thoroughly satisfying.
Granted, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (barring, perhaps, book 1) engaged me in a deeper way than the Twilight series, but Twilight and its sequels are virtually as satisfying.
And that’s something I just cannot say about Dracula.
Okay, bring on the stakes and torches. I’m ready.