SEATTLE — This is some working vacation, I thought: reading a teen novel on the bus to the big city, where I’ll get to see the story splash across the wide screen.
Then, somewhere between the forest outside Port Hadlock and the Bainbridge Island ferry, vacation melted into obsession.
Yes, my supermarket paperback copy of Twilight sucked me all the way in to our heroine Bella Swan’s brain.
Say what you will about the purple tint of Stephenie Meyer’s prose, I’m not embarrassed anymore.
I know I should be reading Serious Literature, but all I care about is when I can get back in between those pages.
The tale of two beauteous 17-year-olds who don’t fit in to their high school, who slip away to the deep woods to find each other — can there be anything more seductive?
Caught in the romance
For former non-fitting-in teenagers like me, Twilight transports.
And while I would have liked it better if Bella had some other interests– college and travel plans, please — I can’t deny I relished being in on her romance.
This stuff tastes like forkful after forkful of dark chocolate icing — with none of the calories.
The only worry, then, is whether the movie will do justice to it all.
A jammed, gasping, hollering, hooting theater full of fans handed down a verdict on Tuesday night.
The AMC multiplex at Seattle’s Pacific Place mall hosted a special screening for critics ¬– and for Bella-and-Edward followers who won tickets from a Seattle radio station.
So there we were, scores of us across the age gamut, scootched down in our seats, practically salivating for this white-hot yet chaste story.
And from the moment Edward, played by beet-juice-lipped Robert Pattinson, loomed up on the screen, we were — I give in — dazzled.
Cries of “woohoo!” washed across the auditorium with each sighting.
The camera drinks Pattinson in as he sits at a table in the high school biology lab, a stuffed barn owl spreading its wings behind him.
PDN has a bit part
Since we Twilight readers know Edward and Bella’s secret, seeing them mingle with the other Spartans at Forks High School is plain hilarious.
We laugh en masse as the hunky vampire transfixes our heroine, and as she trips over a tree root. We sigh knowingly as the spooky music swells. At least one of us whimpers with adoration of you know who.
And oh, how we relish the suspense as the two grow closer, sipping the punch spiked with forbidden juice.
And the scenery! “Twilight’s” producers threw over the book’s Forks setting for some woodsy Oregon locations, so about the only authentically Olympic Peninsula part of the movie is a glimpse of the Peninsula Daily News on a cafe table.
Nonetheless, the movie captures the magic of a mossy forests and misty beaches.
A treetop scene shows the Pacific Northwest in all its emerald and silver glory; I expect that alone to send many more Twilighters streaming through Port Angeles and Forks, thirsty for rain forest and the waves at LaPush.
“Twilight” just might work wonders, too, for paleness.
Kristen Stewart as Bella has an alabaster complexion that glows beside Pattinson’s pasty face.
And the rest of the vampires in the movie are so stunning, they made my eyes water.
Strangely, though, in this of all movies, it rarely rains.
No matter; “Twilight” is luscious on screen, and you needn’t take only my word for it.
Amber Roal of Burien brought her daughters Brianna, 13, and Jessica, 11, and their friend Ashley Lambe, 14, to the theater seven hours before show time.
First in line
The foursome was rewarded with a first-in-line position, plus Mom’s fresh interest in traveling to Forks.
“As I watched the movie, I was thinking it would be a fun trip,” Roal said.
And though Ashley and Brianna, soccer players who call their squad Team Edward, have read all four books in the Twilight saga, Roal has not.
“Now I want to,” she said.
Then Roal hit the nail on the head about how Twilight grabs the reader and moviegoer by the throat.
“That intense emotion: As humans, we all want to feel that,” she said. “You crave that in your own life.”
She’s cautioned her daughters about Twilight’s saga of fierce longing and danger.
Edward and Bella barely kiss — they gaze into each other’s eyes instead of having sex.
But Roal said such an intense emotional connection is something to be careful about.
“I think it would be good for parents to be aware of the content of what their kids are reading,” so they can talk about what constitutes a healthy relationship.
Sure, Twilight is fantasy. It’s also making a powerful impression on teens, Roal added.
And though she didn’t expect to like the movie, Roal seized the opportunity to experience “Twilight” together with her daughters.
She heard about the special screening on the radio, managed to win tickets, and took the day off work so they could all get in line early.
As it turned out, Roal thoroughly enjoyed the picture.
But she said that even if she’d hated it, the hours in line would have been worth it since “Twilight” so thrilled her girls.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at [email protected]