Good novel gone bad

Published 8:36 am Thursday, November 17, 2011

There’s no doubt the world of literature is filled with captivating and thrilling stories. And with those stories often come devoted fans.

Many of us “literature fans” can sit down and list our favorites and could probably talk about them for hours on end. Simultaneously, we would also defend the author’s plot and characters, especially if Hollywood was eyeing their favorite for a film.

For ages television and film directors have looked to the written word for inspiration. “Gone With the Wind”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Charlotte’s Web”, are just a handful of classic novels translated into films.

If you need more modern interpretations, look to movies such as “My Sister’s Keeper”, “The Help” and the upcoming George Clooney movie, “The Descendants”.

It seems it can be hit or miss when it comes to Hollywood reinterpreting well-liked novels.

If there is any doubt just take a look at the “Twilight” phenomenon. The fourth movie of the saga is slated for release on Friday.

The “Twilight” franchise is based on four young adult novels authored by Stephanie Meyer, which, in short, follows the romance of a young teen, Bella, and Edward, a vampire, as well as the trials and tribulations surrounding their relationship that ensue.

Just before the first movie came out I decided to read “Twilight”, the first book in the series, out of curiosity and like millions of others who decided to read the book I was hooked.  Soon enough I had read the subsequent novels, “New Moon”, “Eclipse” and the finale “Breaking Dawn.”

Though I felt as the series went on the plot got just a little weaker it still held my attention right up to the very end.

I even coerced one of my aunts reading the books and soon she understood why I couldn’t put them down.

The “Twilight” books were a phenomenon to say the least. And then the films were released and Hollywood, doing what it does best, marketed a franchise.

While the films have tried to stay loyal to Meyer’s work, as a fan of the “Twilight” novels it all falls a little short for me.

Amongst the terrible acting, the questionable special effects and the haze of the publicity the surrounds the films I hardly recognize the story I read back in 2007. “Twilight” is an example of a good novel gone bad on film.

Maybe I just have too high of expectations or I may be too picky, but there is an investment in the characters when you read a story and enjoy it. You never want to be let down and you never want to see those characters differently from how you imagined them.

I’m not sure if I’ll make it to the theater to see the latest “Twilight” film, but then again aunt just may con me into it.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.