Culture | Screw you, Cullen!

“America’s McGill” satirizes teen-lit sensation Twilight

Disclaimer: if you love the Twilight series with all your heart and soul, Nightlight is definitely not the book for you.  But if you read Twilight and halfway through began to question your sanity, and cannot explain why you finished the book anyway, Nightlight will assuage your panicked self-doubting, and confirm that you are, in fact, sane for thinking Twilight is the most ridiculous pop culture happening imaginable.

Nightlight is a parody of Stephenie Meyer’s immensely popular Twilight, the first instalment in her series of four books about a romance between a vampire and a young human teenage girl. Written by the Harvard Lampoon, the book delivers a hilarious, biting (the pun is just too easy) satire of Meyer’s debut novel and the phenomenon it has become.

Nightlight’s main character is Belle Goose, a self-involved, vampire-obsessed loser whose constant questions and self-reflections parody those of Isabella Swan, the protagonist of the Twilight series.  Isabella is perhaps the most annoying protagonist in literary history, and Belle takes Isabella’s infuriating vanity and obliviousness to an extreme, producing a much more obnoxious and satisfyingly stupid caricature. In the same way, Nightlight meticulously takes every aspect of Twilight into account and blows it up: instead of a truck, Belle’s father buys her a U-Haul; instead of annoyingly caring emails from Isabella’s mother, Belle receives 44 paranoid messages in a matter of hours.   
What Twilight fans might find most insulting about Nightlight is the Harvard Lampoon’s portrayal of Edward Cullen, the vampire every teenage girl seems to be head over heels in love with.  Edwart Mullen, Belle’s “vampire” love interest in Nightlight, is weak, unintelligent, flighty, and nervous. In a move that ridicules Edward’s domineering behaviour, Nightlight’s Edwart is painfully timid, and it is Belle who, in her delusion of falling in love with a vampire, forces herself upon him and attempts to extract some sort of controlling urge out of Edwart.   
Nightlight is a work of comedic brilliance for those who appreciate sarcasm, satire, and the belittlement of unrealistic and unhealthy love affairs with vampires. To find out how the parody’s twist aims to completely dismantle young girls’ obsessions with Edward Cullen, you’ll have to actually pick up a copy of Nightlight and read it yourself.  Don’t worry though: it is only 154 pages, unlike Twilight, which was 512 pages of mind-numbing questions, theories, and actions from the lovely Isabella Swan, and moody, stupid, and confusing answers from the brooding Edward Cullen.  To top off the inspired parody, the cover of Nightlight shows a hand holding an apple core. I guess that forbidden fruit wasn’t so forbidden after all, eh?


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