Monday, April 09, 2012
The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The premise if this book is fun: what if Bella from Twilight wasn't really a shy, awkward kid, but was actually a manipulative, psychotic murderer and all of her shy, bumbling ways were planned behaviors to mask her real intentions? The book very closely mirrors Twilight, very much like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and that style of parody. If you like that kind of thing you'll likely get a chuckle out of this. I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so a lot. I thought that it wouldn't be as funny if I hadn't (a) read Twilight, (b) liked it, and (c) had a sense of humor about it. Diehard fans definitely won't appreciate it because it's obviously making fun of the book, although really it doesn't ridicule it that much at all, just presents a different angle and pokes gentle fun at it. But you know diehard fans won't be happy with any poking fun at their beloved characters or books. And people who hate the whole idea of Twilight will probably be annoyed by the it because it really closely matches the book. Too much, as it turns out.
By the middle of the book it got boring, it was just too close to Twilight. It wasn't quirky enough, there wasn't enough action or snark, and there definitely was not enough Lake Woebegotten. It was just too much a scene-for-scene retelling of Twilight with a few semi-snarky comments from Bonnie and changing of the pertinent names and such to make it a parody. So they didn't play baseball, they played hockey, that is hardly interesting.
As a fan of The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten, what would have really spiced it up was more interaction with the characters from the town. There were a few scenes throughout the book dealing with people from town, clearly leading up to something, but they really weren't utilized extensively until the end. It was also confusing as to whether this was a prequel or what. It turns out that it's really an alternate history, kind of like James Lovegrove with his Greek, Egyptian, Norse and now Astec versions of Earth. There are several people who die in both Woebegotten books, people who have different jobs, and a lot of fun parallels as well, so there are things that will satisfy fans of Zombies. But not as much as I'd hoped for, and not as much as the book needed to make it more interesting and original. By page 200 things finally picked up again, but it was quite a dry spell in between.
Overall, Zombies was just wittier. It kept me constantly amused. Maybe because I hadn't read the book it was based on? Was Zombies as faithful to the book it was based on as this one was? I have no way to compare at this point. This book just wasn't as biting and clever as I wanted it to be, but it's a fun idea pretty-well executed.
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