Review: Nightlight

nightlightNightlight
The Harvard Lampoon
Vintage Books
$13.95, trade paperback, 154 pages
Release date: Nov. 3, 2009

It seems everyone on the planet has some level of familiarity with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Devoted fans eagerly awaited the next installment of the lengthy books. When the last book in Meyer’s series appeared in August 2008, the books’ fans switched their anticipation to movies based on the books.

Thanks to a parody from The Harvard Lampoon, Twilight devotees now have something new to read, although Nightlight’s humor may be better appreciated by Twilight’s detractors.

Nightlight pulls no punches in its entertaining vivisection of Meyer’s mythos. Situations and characters from the source material are stretched, inflated and mutated to comic proportions. Twilight’s Bella Swan becomes Nightlight’s Bella Goose; the original’s quirky lack of coordination becomes the parody’s death-defying clumsiness. Edward Cullen, the vampire heartthrob, becomes Edwart Mullen, a “venture meteorologist with a bent for slowly accumulating money from .0001-cent web ads.”

Edwart is not a vampire. A fact Bella Swan doesn’t let stop her in her obsessive pursuit to date a vampire and have him turn into one of the undead. After all, Edwart doesn’t eat his baked potatoes, snowflakes magically melt when they touch his skin, and he is able to resist the charms Bella is sure she possesses. All well-known signs of the undead to Bella, who manages to twist every coincidence to fit her world view.

The Harvard Lampoon takes every possible shot it can at Meyer’s often clichéd writing and bizarre plot twists. Nightlight mimics Twilight’s style perfectly, down to its mockery of New Moon’s — the second in Meyer’s series — depiction of Bella’s months of depression.

True Twilight fans may bristle at Nightlight, but they’re also the ones who can appreciate it the most. Without a basic understanding of Meyer’s characters and plots, a Nightlight reader will most likely be lost. Those intimately familiar with Twilight will find much they recognize in Nightlight.

Hard-core parodies can be tough to get into, and the beginning of Nightlight tests its readers’ determination. Absurdities pile up quickly to the point of, well, absurdity. The writing style seems juvenile, but mirrors Meyer’s style perfectly. After the first few chapters, however, it becomes easier to settle in to Nightlight’s rhythms and appreciate the fun it pokes at Twilight and its legions of devoted fans.

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