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Mockingjay

Mockingjay

By Suzanne Collins

Published 2010, final book in The Hunger Games trilogy

Synopsis:

Now that Katniss Everdeen has completed her unprecedented second hunger game, she learns that her home district is no more.  What remains of Katniss’s people have been relocated and the rebellion against the Capital is in full swing. Now more than ever, the question of who to trust plagues our heroine.  Is President Snow the evil one after all?

Review:

Whether in triumph or loss, one way or another, the hunger games are brought to an end.  Our questions are finally answered: does Katniss ever get the chance to confront the cruel leader who has been the cause of every tragedy in her life?  Does either Peeta or Gale eventually win her heart?  And what is the ultimate outcome of the war between the rebels and the Capital?

I don’t think I was breathing correctly throughout the last 100 pages; I was actually physically distraught over how things were turning out.  It was the same way I felt during the last part of The Return of the King, wondering how it could be possible for tiny, ill-equipped Frodo to stand a chance against the gigantic all-powerful Sauran.  The battle is staged as an impossibility right from the start, but we do love to root for the hopeless underdog, don’t we? That aspect of Mockingjay is awesome, definitely, but this book, like Catching Fire did start off a little slowly.  Since you’re already so invested in the story, you keep at it and trust that it will eventually take off into the thrill ride you’ve come to expect from this series.  And it does…eventually.  I thought about a quarter of this book could’ve been cut out; at times it felt like I was reading some padded, unnecessary scenes.  But when the story did gain momentum, it did so in a big way and the last third of the book is filled with a lot of unexpected twists and events that are truly shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately very cool. 

I was satisfied with the ending and am very grateful for the beautiful and informative epilogue.  Overall, this book is pretty awesome, despite dragging a bit here and there.

Recommendations:

I recommend this series for thrill-seekers and fans of other-worldly fiction aged 13 and up.  There is no doubt this trilogy has what moviemakers die for, so I look forward to seeing previews for The Hunger Games movie very soon.

Rating:

For this book: 3 ½ boots.

For the whole trilogy: 4 boots.

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go

By Dale E. Basye

Published 2008, part one of a series called “Circles of Heck”

Synopsis:

Milton and Marlo are a brother and sister who have died in a fluke mall marshmallow bear accident after which they are sent to Heck, a place where “bad” kids go to await judgment.  While Marlo is proud of her devilish pranks, Milton is an innocent straight-A student who believes he was sent to Heck by mistake.  Now the two kids try to find a way out of Heck and the evil clutches of its director, Bea “Elsa” Bubb.

 

Review:

This is a case of the wrong book at the wrong time.  It happens.  Though I’m not sure there would ever be a right time. I should not have read this after reading such masterpieces as The Book Thief and The Hunger Games trilogy.  Those books involve kids who die as well, but the deaths and the events leading up to them are, obviously, extremely powerful, moving, and tragic.  The deaths of the kids in Heck, however, are treated as a humorous accident the occurs when they are in the middle of running away from mall security guards after being caught stealing and destroying property.  The children are more disappointed with the odors and disgusting food options in the netherworld than they are by the fact that they are dead.  After being so distraught by the injustice and cruelty done to children in the Hunger Games books and, I thought Heck might provide a light, humorous book that was a clever play on Paradise Lost or Pilgrim’s Progress.  No.  Heck is a huge disappointment.  I wanted to laugh and I know the author wanted me to laugh, too.  But try as I might, I just couldn’t.  The book is filled with puns and wordplay which are almost funny but are mostly just dumb and old.  Here’s some of what I’m talking about:

  • They live in “Generica, Kansas”
  • Milton wears “coke-bottle glasses”
  • Stores in the mall: “Spoiled Sports Sporting Goods,” “Toung-Thaied,”
  • “Goodbye Puppy” makeup bag
  • “Olympic-sized kiddie pool”
  • “Upchucky Cheese restaurant”
  • A lizard wearing ray-bans taps on a microphone and says “hello? Is this thing on?”
  • “abracadaver”
  • “you mess with a  demon, you get the horns”
  • A teacher who died while trying to invent new sodas with names like: Nurse Pepper, Mountain Don’t, and Six Down

It’s not that I don’t get these jokes; it’s that I already heard them, or variations of them.  There are only so many times you can reword well-known phrases and still be funny.  This happens a lot, actually, not just in books.  And I’d like to use this opportunity to say it’s never amusing to use other people’s phrases, even if you twist them or try to make them ironic.  Here’s an example of one particularly annoying phrase that is reworked repeatedly.  We are all familiar with the Milk ad campaign: “got Milk?” For some reason, people still think it’s funny to reuse that phrase even though the ad campaign is Ten Years Old.  I’ve seen billboards that say “got Jesus?”  There are ads for cleaning services that say “got Mildew?” Please, please, think before you re-use a phrase in an attempt to be witty.  It’s not clever; it’s definitely not funny, it’s totally unoriginal, and it borders on plagiarism.

Anyway, if these kinds of things are funny to you, you will love this book.  If you’re looking for more original humor, try Louis Sachar, Roald Dahl, or Richard Peck.  These writers offer humor with humanity; you will laugh and think and feel something.  I didn’t do any of those things reading Heck.

Recommendations:

I recommend this book for 8 year old boys who think farts and snot are funny.

Rating: 1 boot.

I’m Not.

I’m Not.

Written by Pam Smallcomb

Illustrated by Robert Weinstock

Published 2011

Synopsis/Review:

I don’t often review picture books but I had to say something about this book I happened to pick up while browsing at a bookstore.  It’s adorable.  Two dinosaurs are best friends even though they are very different from each other.  One dinosaur feels she can’t compete with her friend who is creative, athletic, and energetic.  But she soon realizes that she has other talents that her friend is missing.  This is a high-quality picture book with everything you look for: it’s funny, has great illustrations that add to the pleasure of the story itself, and projects a very sweet message that is important for all kids to know.

Rating:

5 boots!  I need a copy of this right now and I and my kids will read it again and again.

Catching Fire

Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins

Published 2009, second book in The Hunger Games trilogy

Synopsis:

In this sequel to The Hunger Games, Katniss returns home after her “victory” in the Arena.  She soon learns that though all victors are promised a life of ease and luxury as a reward, the price she and her fellow victors pay is steep—and the price keeps getting higher.  What was a small act of rebellion in the first book ignites a massive uprising throughout the country.  Now, whether she’s ready or not, Katniss herself becomes the symbol of the rebellion and the one person that the crushed population looks to for direction and hope. 

Review:

Have mercy.  I challenge anyone to read this book and not have to continue directly on to the third book in the series: Mockingjay.  In fact, all three of these books are really just components of a large ongoing thrill ride.  The ride doesn’t end with each book’s close; it merely pauses long enough for you to catch your breath before cracking the cover of the next one.  I was completely riveted by the first book; I read the last half of the book in one sitting.  And I didn’t think it was possible, but this one is even more ruthlessly addictive.  Here are some of the things you can look forward to: the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale heats up; the cruel President Snow himself makes several appearances; this year’s Hunger Games return with a diabolical design and the twist that nobody—Katniss least of all—sees coming.  I think I can safely say that if you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll drool with delight when you read Catching Fire

Recommendations:

I recommend this book to fans of The Hunger Games and other dystopian novels of this genre.  Again, there are some graphic, gruesome, and violent scenes that I think are way too intense for those younger than 13.

Rating:

4 ½ boots.

The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden

By Kate Morton

Published 2009

Synopsis: 

When 21 year old Nell finds out that the people who raised her are not her real parents, she goes on a quest to find her birth mother, only to discover that not only was she abducted at the age of four, but that the person who stole her vanished shortly afterward.  What follows is a mystery that goes back to Nell’s great grandmother and centers around a cursed Cornish manor house with ghosts all its own including a hidden garden, a maze, and a haunted cottage by the sea.

Review: 

Hurray!  Finally a novel that can compete with the likes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.  This book has it all: ghosts, romance, mystery, scenery, passion…and it never reaches the point where it tries too hard to be like a Bronte book.  It keeps you intrigued the whole way through to the thrilling conclusion that you never saw coming.  The book is written from different perspectives and alternates between the time periods during which key events take place, from as early as 1900 all the way to 2005.  One of the characters is a writer of fairy tales for children and periodically some of those tales are intermixed into the story—just one of the many ways this book has of delighting the reader.  The writing is colorful and distinctive, with subtle variances depending on whose perspective we’re reading. 

Kate Morton also wrote The House at Riverton which was good but not as riveting as The Forgotten Garden.  I was able to figure out the mystery in the Riverton book, not the case at all in this new novel.  It is a pleasing 550+ page book, just right for whiling away the long winter hours.  Splendid.

Recommendations:

I will recommend this to anyone, age 16 and up.  Most of the characters are women and I think this book would appeal much more to female readers, especially to fans of the Bronte sisters.

Rating:

4 ½ boots!

Do Movie Adaptations of Books Ever Live Up to the Reading Experience?

Answer: For the most part, definitely not.  A movie, no matter how cleverly made, cannot contend with the power of an author’s words fusing with the reader’s imagination.  That connection is stronger than any visual presentation a movie can provide.  There are some cases, though, in which a movie adds to the book experience in a positive way, rather than detracting from it.

I will always say that reading the book is better than watching a movie based on a book.  No question.  However, the experience of going to the movies and seeing characters and stories come to life on the screen can be a thrill all by itself.  Movies can’t recreate the reading experience, but they can allow you to glean even more enjoyment out of a book that you loved.  A great example of this is the Harry Potter films.  For one thing, I think it’s amazing that the films have the same actors playing the same characters; we have actually seen this people grow from children into adults.  Then there’s the music and the cinematography, both so well-matched to the tone of the story. Every single Harry Potter movie boosts the original enjoyment of reading.  Even despite the many instances when the movies stray from the book, I still love them because they are totally in line with the feeling of the book, preserving the energy and excitement created by the author. Like practically everyone who read the series, I was honestly sad when the last book came to an end.  I felt like I was saying goodbye to a best friend, knowing I would never again meet a new character, or work out a new mystery in the common room.  But just knowing that there is still the second half of the seventh Harry Potter movie coming keeps alive the magical anticipation of further encounters with his world.  And for that, I’m ever grateful to moviemakers. 

The Lord of the Rings is another example of a great book experience that was further enhanced by a spectacular trio of films.  The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy are among my favorite books, but, for me, they were sometimes cumbersome to read only because there is just so much to it; it takes an investment to read the trilogy, a worthwhile commitment, for sure, but a commitment nonetheless.  The movie trilogy requires an investment, too; each film is at least 3 hours and in my opinion, the extended versions—which add another thirty minutes each—are the only ones to watch.  But the movies are so incredibly well-made that every single scene is…breathtakingly awesome.  The soundtrack alone is amazing; but then to pair it with perfect casting, perfect costuming, the perfect landscape…well, I can’t even justify how fantastic the movies are with my measly little words.  For this article, I just want to stress that this is one of the rare cases in which a movie adds to, cooperates with, and actually heightens the reading experience.

There are some book experiences that are not improved at all and often made worse by the movie version.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes to mind.  When I read the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, I was completely blown away.  C.S. Lewis’s words allowed me to conjure the whole world in my mind, so much so that I sometimes would walk all the way into my closet and feel around in the back of the clothes rack, desperately hoping to touch fir trees and snow…  But the spell was broken when I saw the full-length film at the theater.  For one thing, there were a whole lot of additional scenes and convoluted details that weren’t in the book.  For another thing, the character of Lucy was not at all like I imagined, nor was Mr. Tumnus, the Professor, or the whole Narnian landscape.  And now, whenever I think about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I can only picture the movie scenes and I can’t recapture that feeling of enchantment I had from reading the book.  So, though the film obviously had a big budget, was actually very well made, and had good music and special effects, it still detracted from the book. Why a moviemaker would think that they could add words and details to a nearly flawless book by one of the greatest writers in history is beyond me. 

Holes, again, is a book that never should have been made into a movie.  I like Shia Lebouf—a lot—but he is not anything like Stanley Yelnats.  More to the point, what made Holes such an awesome reading experience were the words themselves…  “as for the rest of the holes, you’re going to have to fill them in yourself…”  It was so brilliantly, cleverly written that you just couldn’t help smiling and re-reading, and sometimes, chuckling out loud.  There’s no way in a million years that the words themselves could ever be captured on screen.  Why did Louis Sachar ever agree to that?  Yet another situation in which the movie actually diminished the initial joy I got from reading the book. 

It’s not necessary for every great book to be made into a movie. If the joy of reading the story cannot be enhanced by a movie, then it should never be considered; authors should not allow that to happen to their stories.  If Holes had remained a humble, funny, endearing little book, it would have become an all-time classic.  But now it has that movie associated with it, which will make people not want to read the book at all; they will never know the joy of encountering the story page by page and will lose out on a really good experience.

The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are so unbelievably amazing by themselves that not only do they not detract from the reading experience, but, if anything, they would actually encourage people to read the books, just so they can pick up on any of the details that there wasn’t enough time to fit into the film.  The whole point of a movie being made out of a book should be to further enhance an author’s creation, not to break it apart and recreate it into something that it never was.  If a movie is not true to an author’s vision, no matter how well-made, it is a failure.

P.S. For anyone who has seen the movie Holes but not read the book, I heartily recommend reading the book; it really is one of the best little book treks I’ve ever been on.

Do Movie Adaptations of Books Ever Live Up to the Reading Experience?

Answer: For the most part, definitely not.  A movie, no matter how cleverly made, cannot contend with the power of an author’s words fusing with the reader’s imagination.  That connection is stronger than any visual presentation a movie can provide.  There are some cases, though, in which a movie adds to the book experience in a positive way, rather than detracting from it.

I will always say that reading the book is better than watching a movie based on a book.  No question.  However, the experience of going to the movies and seeing characters and stories come to life on the screen can be a thrill all by itself.  Movies can’t recreate the reading experience, but they can allow you to glean even more enjoyment out of a book that you loved.  A great example of this is the Harry Potter films.  For one thing, I think it’s amazing that the films have the same actors playing the same characters; we have actually seen this people grow from children into adults.  Then there’s the music and the cinematography, both so well-matched to the tone of the story. Every single Harry Potter movie boosts the original enjoyment of reading.  Even despite the many instances when the movies stray from the book, I still love them because they are totally in line with the feeling of the book, preserving the energy and excitement created by the author. Like practically everyone who read the series, I was honestly sad when the last book came to an end.  I felt like I was saying goodbye to a best friend, knowing I would never again meet a new character, or work out a new mystery in the common room.  But just knowing that there is still the second half of the seventh Harry Potter movie coming keeps alive the magical anticipation of further encounters with his world.  And for that, I’m ever grateful to moviemakers.

The Lord of the Rings is another example of a great book experience that was further enhanced by a spectacular trio of films.  The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy are among my favorite books, but, for me, they were sometimes cumbersome to read only because there is just so much to it; it takes an investment to read the trilogy, a worthwhile commitment, for sure, but a commitment nonetheless.  The movie trilogy requires an investment, too; each film is at least 3 hours and in my opinion, the extended versions—which add another thirty minutes each—are the only ones to watch.  But the movies are so incredibly well-made that every single scene is…breathtakingly awesome.  The soundtrack alone is amazing; but then to pair it with perfect casting, perfect costuming, the perfect landscape…well, I can’t even justify how fantastic the movies are with my measly little words.  For this article, I just want to stress that this is one of the rare cases in which a movie adds to, cooperates with, and actually heightens the reading experience.

There are some book experiences that are not improved at all and often made worse by the movie version.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe comes to mind.  When I read the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia, I was completely blown away.  C.S. Lewis’s words allowed me to conjure the whole world in my mind, so much so that I sometimes would walk all the way into my closet and feel around in the back of the clothes rack, desperately hoping to touch fir trees and snow…  But the spell was broken when I saw the full-length film at the theater.  For one thing, there were a whole lot of additional scenes and convoluted details that weren’t in the book.  For another thing, the character of Lucy was not at all like I imagined, nor was Mr. Tumnus, the Professor, or the whole Narnian landscape.  And now, whenever I think about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I can only picture the movie scenes and I can’t recapture that feeling of enchantment I had from reading the book.  So, though the film obviously had a big budget, was actually very well made, and had good music and special effects, it still detracted from the book. Why a moviemaker would think that they could add words and details to a nearly flawless book by one of the greatest writers in history is beyond me.

Holes, again, is a book that never should have been made into a movie.  I like Shia Lebouf—a lot—but he is not anything like Stanley Yelnats.  More to the point, what made Holes such an awesome reading experience were the words themselves…  “as for the rest of the holes, you’re going to have to fill them in yourself…”  It was so brilliantly, cleverly written that you just couldn’t help smiling and re-reading, and sometimes, chuckling out loud.  There’s no way in a million years that the words themselves could ever be captured on screen.  Why did Louis Sachar ever agree to that?  Yet another situation in which the movie actually diminished the initial joy I got from reading the book.

It’s not necessary for every great book to be made into a movie. If the joy of reading the story cannot be enhanced by a movie, then it should never be considered; authors should not allow that to happen to their stories.  If Holes had remained a humble, funny, endearing little book, it would have become an all-time classic.  But now it has that movie associated with it, which will make people not want to read the book at all; they will never know the joy of encountering the story page by page and will lose out on a really good experience.

The Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are so unbelievably amazing by themselves that not only do they not detract from the reading experience, but, if anything, they would actually encourage people to read the books, just so they can pick up on any of the details that there wasn’t enough time to fit into the film.  The whole point of a movie being made out of a book should be to further enhance an author’s creation, not to break it apart and recreate it into something that it never was.  If a movie is not true to an author’s vision, no matter how well-made, it is a failure.

P.S. For anyone who has seen the movie Holes but not read the book, I heartily recommend reading the book; it really is one of the best little book treks I’ve ever been on.

100 Cupboards

100 Cupboards

By N. D. Wilson

Published 2007, first book in a series

Synopsis:

There’s something strange about Henry’s attic bedroom.  Is it the thumping and scratching coming from inside the walls?  Is it the glowing light coming from inside a cupboard hidden behind the plaster? Or perhaps it’s the fact that a key and an old journal lead Henry to uncover the mysteries of the worlds that lie beyond the attic wall.  Mysteries abound in this high energy, well-crafted story about hidden spaces and the awakening of one boy’s belief in magic.

Review:

This is not what you think it is.  Well, it’s not what I thought it was. When I read the book jacket I was expecting another Narnia-like story about finding a secret entrance to a magical world except that instead of a wardrobe, the door is a cupboard.  This book is not like that.  It is not a rip-off of Narnia at all; if anything, it pays homage to it.  The cupboards do lead to other-worldly places, but they aren’t like Narnia and they aren’t filled with talking animals or a lion that represents God.  This book also harkens back to other classic children’s science fiction, like Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, for instance, in that the main character is a pre-teen boy living in an attic who is a seventh son and who alone holds the power to end an evil spree. But who cares what similarities it shares with other books; it’s still a completely original, satisfying, funny story, with just the perfect portion of scary to provide a gratifying amount of goosebumps.

I almost don’t want to write any more about it because I don’t want to give anything away; a lot of the fun of reading this is the unexpected turns the story takes. So instead, I’ll talk about the writing itself.  Fantastic.  Here is an example of why this is such a great book to read:

The wind scratched its back along the side of the barn.  The stars swung slowly across the roof of this world, and the grass swayed and grew, content to be the world’s carpet but still desiring to be taller.

Writing like this is what makes an already great story even more enjoyable to read.  This is what I’m talking about; this is what I look for—a great story that is written in clever, not-too-artistic language.  Love it love it love it. I will definitely read the second book in the series, Dandelion Fire.

Recommendations:

This book would make a great read-aloud adventure to take kids on—ages 7 to 12.  This would make a great movie, too, I think.

Rating:

4 ½ boots.

The Other Two Books in This Series:

Other Great Fantasy Series Like This:

The Book Thief

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

Published 2005, Winner of numerous awards including ALA Notable Book, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year, Book Sense Book of Year, and many others

Synopsis:

Death narrates a four year period in the life of Liesel Meminger, a young girl living in one of the poorest villages in Germany during WWII.  Liesel copes with the many tragic events of her life by stealing books. Liesel comes to realize that the power of words has led her country to war, but that it can also bring about peace and redemption.

Review:

This book is about the power of words, and it is duly written with powerful words.  Almost too powerful.  Like many other great books about heart-rending tragedies, this book is very moving and forces the reader to confront horrifying details of actual events.  It is uncomfortable.  I generally steer away from books that make me want to cry; but it’s important to read books about historical trauma because it would be a terrible thing if these peoples’ stories were completely forgotten just because future readers don’t want to have to cry while learning about them.  And if you’re going to read a book about the terror that Adolf Hitler brought down upon his own people—let alone six million Jewish prisoners—then this is the one to read.

When learning about the Holocaust in school, the facts about concentration camps stand out the most, possibly because it is so unimaginable that a person could be so evil as to subject an entire population to such torment.  But never did I consider the hundreds of thousands of other people tormented as well: German citizens who slowly starved to death while watching their country being taken over by one whom they knew in their hearts to be evil and destructive.  These people were also forced to help bring about the evil that Hitler desired.  I wondered as I read this book which is the worse torment, to die by evil hands, or to be forced to do the killing.

This book is about some of the German people who neither supported Hitler nor hated the Jews.  The main character is nine when the book begins and 13 when it ends.  It has a tragic beginning, a tragic middle, and an even more tragic ending.  But there’s no getting around the truth of this time and place in history, so there’s no reason to hope for a happy ending.  What keeps this book from making the reader too depressed to continue reading is that it is written amazingly well; right from the first few words, the reader is well aware that this is going to be a fantastic literary experience.  But in addition to the extremely clever wordcraft, the story itself keeps you engaged because there are moments of happiness in these wretched people’s lives that remind us that even in the darkest times, there is still goodness to be found.   These small bits of hope and, yes, even laughter at times, is what keeps the audience from turning away.  I think we’re all looking for some kind of confirmation that hope is never useless, even when it seems like it couldn’t possibly exist.  If hope can exist during Hitler’s reign, then it can exist anywhere.  The Book Thief is hope’s biggest promoter.

Recommendation:

About the story: I can really only recommend this book for an older audience; it seems too much for a pre-teen or younger to handle.  I’ve been wrong before, though, about just how much young readers can take.  All I’m saying is that there are some details that are very sad and made all the more so because they are based on the lives of real people. 

About the writing: As I said, it’s amazing.  It’s new, inventive, and smart.  There is a reason that this book has won so many awards.  But I have to say, there were some points in the book in which the wording was so interesting that it took me out of the story.   I usually appreciate authors who find new ways of putting words together, and for like ninety percent of the time I was delighted with this author’s unique imagery.  But for that other 10 percent, I found it to be too much.  I like simplicity.  This book could have done with a little less clever phrasing.

Rating:

4 ½ boots.

Follow Up on Twilight Post

Since my post on Twilight, I have read the second book, New Moon, and watched the film Twilight starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.  I wanted to follow up with what I thought about the movie…

Overall, it was good.  It was a faithful rendition of the book.  The coloring was perfect, Taylor Lautner as the somewhat shy and gawky Jacob Black was spot on. Kristen Stewart as Bella was very good, but not brilliant.  It was distracting when her eyes would flit around and her voice would stutter all about.  She never said a complete sentence without all this “uh,” “um,” “wha,” “ffft,” thing she does.  I kept wanting to say, dude, just spit it out already. 

The scene in which Bella and Edward have their first biology class together is one of the best scenes in the book.  Edward is finding it hard to resist her smell and tries to sit as far from her as possible, avoids eye contact, and keeps his fists balled up under the desk.  Bella is extremely confused by this and for days afterward wonders why this gorgeous guy she never met acts like he hates her.  It’s a classic misunderstanding that occurs often in fiction and creates a fun level of anticipation in which the reader looks forward to the moment when the main character finally understands the truth.  This heightened suspense between what Edward appears to think and what he really does think makes up the main tension in the first half of the book and unfortunately was never fully captured on film.  And that is such a shame because it was one of the greatest pleasures in reading the story.  Instead, in the biology scene, Edward just clutches his mouth like he’s going to throw up and then he squints at her like he needs glasses.

I really wanted the Cullen clan to be amazingly beautiful like they were in the book and none of them quite cut it.  Rosalie was the closest to being beautiful.  But the rest were just ordinary good-looking people.  So that was kind of disappointing.  But let’s get to the heart of it.  The real reason for watching the movie (for me) is to see what happens when Edward Cullen is brought to life.  I think Robert Pattinson is very handsome guy, and he came close, but ultimately, he did not compare to the character written by Stephenie Meyers. Pattinson is hot, definitely, but not breathtakingly so.  He is masculine, but not daringly so.  He is suave, but not dashingly so.  There were moments that were very romantic and heart-fluttering, but not enough of them to make me blush.  And, okay, I admit it, my cheeks got red when I was reading Edward.  I did not get red while watching Edward.

Twilight was still a good movie; I’m glad I saw it and I will definitely watch New Moon (I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Lautner get a haircut and a bad-ass body) but I’m already preparing myself that the actors will likely not be as ruggedly gorgeous as the characters.  And maybe it’s not even possible for human actors to look like the vampires and werewolves that Meyers describes.  And that is just something I’m going to have to accept. Thankfully, though, I do have a fantastical imagination that allows me to see the real Edward Cullen whenever I want to.  And, of course, there’s always Mr. Darcy played by Mr. Firth to sustain me…