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Book Review: Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

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With the impending release of New Moon, the second installment in the wildly popular Twilight Saga series, Twilight and its sparkling vampires are on the minds of millions of fans worldwide who are literally salivating for more of their favorite romance between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, a forlorn vampire and a teenage human girl. And whether you like it or not there is no escaping the phenomena created by author Stephenie Meyer, a stay at home mom hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, who was catapulted to fame after penning the best-selling young adult series.

So it's of little surprise with all of the media saturation from car commercials to fast food chain promotions to bookstore displays of epic proportions geared towards Twilight fans, not to mention all of the television, magazine and internet coverage, that some voices of dissent have been on the rise. I, myself, participated in one such uprising earlier this year thanks to author Peter David, who organized for Potato Moon the online round robin (a work of fiction wherein various authors write chapters of a story). Potato Moon is a Twilight satire inspired by the Russet Noon debacle in which a fan announced she was going to write and professionally publish a Twilight sequel claiming that copyright laws didn't apply. To date Peter David's Potato Moon has had upwards of 80 authors participate and has a faithful readership. So when I first heard about The Harvard Lampoon's parody Nightlight I found myself intrigued by the prospect of another humorous stab at the franchise.

Nightlight follows the misadventures of high school student Belle Goose who falls for Edwart Mullen, a classmate she believes to be a vampire. Nightlight opens with Belle Goose leaving Phoenix and moving to Oregon for the sake of her mother's relationship with street-hockey player Bill in what she describes as a "self-exiled, exile." Belle states "It's no big deal. I want to go. I want to leave all of my friends and the sunlight for a small, rainy town. Making you happy makes me happy." This is one of the first of many jabs at some of the blatant flaws in the original Twilight series. I often found myself see-sawing between hysterical laughter at the humor injected throughout the story of Nightlight and shuddering at the blatant nods to the themes of obsession, stalking and manipulation that run rampant in the original series.

Once Belle is situated in Oregon with her father she begins classes at the local high school and it becomes clear early on that Belle Goose thinks very highly of herself. At various points she imagines her future as an Academy Award winner or a Nobel Laureate in physics. She twists the actions of her fellow students into a desire for her. A boy asking her to move her bag because it is in the way must be falling in love with her. Another who accidentally hits her with his car must have done it to try and get her attention. And once her sights are set on Edwart the poor boy has no chance.

Immediately upon seeing him and learning of his solo status she decides that she will be his first girlfriend and projects upon him her fantasy of the perfect man which in this case is a controlling, domineering, bloodthirsty vampire. At one point in their budding relationship she says to Edwart, "You don't have to hide your natural inclination to boss me around. I want you to feel comfortable with me, Edwart. To the point of domination."

As with the original Twilight book I found the middle portion of Nightlight to be somewhat slow going, however that is probably more of a reflection on the source material than it is of this parody. We accompany Belle while she theorizes about Edwart's vampiric traits, continues to assume that all men are falling in love with her, including the mailman, and generally exists as a dead-on caricature of Bella Swan.

And like Twilight, the real meat of the plot doesn't show up until the last third of the book and I have to admit it threw me for a loop and I enjoyed every second of it. It was well worth the admittedly short wait (the book clocks in at 154 pages). I don't want to give too much away but I will say that Belle is forced to come face to face with her fantasy and finds that the reality of it is nowhere near as much fun.

As I mentioned earlier the book addresses many of the questionable issues that are par for the course in the original series and lays them bare as the fallacies they are, opting instead to show that "…relationships take work, and communication."  Words to live by from a book that is a must own for any fans of Twilight, vampires, or just plain intelligent satire.

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About Jennifer Williams

  • http://inannaarthen.com Vyrdolak

    Good review! The cover design for that book is hysterical.

  • mia

    I HATE NIGHTLIGHT! its SO a copycat of twilight! such a LOSER!

  • kylie

    mia, you idiot *shakes head* thats the fricking point its a parody…

  • Kathleen

    Wow, mia your comment just enforced my need to read this parody. I read twilight and I know just from this review that Nightlight has to be at least 10 times better then Twilight.

  • Frances

    Nightlight is awesome

  • Heather

    It was actually a bit much, some parts were funny but others were just way too over the top ridiculous! but considering it was only 150 pages it isn’t too much of a waste of time for the few good laughs…

  • Sammy

    its supposed to be a copy of twlight, and its hilarious, amazingly done

  • Mari

    I read the first 50 pages and couldn’t stop laughing! It was awesome and I can’t wait to finish it.

  • Em

    Hilarious! LOVE it!!!!

  • Taylor

    I love this writing style! Heather, I see what you are trying to say, but I think that it was supposed to be over the top, in an ironic way. The way the author portrayed the flaws and plotholes was SO funny. 5/5 stars!

  • Billie

    People who hae twilight are going to LOVE this. I know I did.
    =]

  • Billie

    *Hate…

  • lolly

    this book is the best one ive ever read!!

  • Gabriella G. L.

    I am anti-Twilight.So I read it, and thought it was very, stupid and idiotic.

  • Antonia

    OMG this book is SO stupid and dumb. You can just tell that the author just wrote it to make money out of it.

  • Char

    I myself am a Twilight fan, I love the books. But I also like a good laugh, so I bought Nightlight, & I really couldn’t ready anymore after the first 50pgs really. I get that it’s a parody & is supposed to make fun of Twilight, but it really is just retarded.
    & to the “anti twilight” people. It’s actually a really good story, but most of you just hate how popular it got, which is a really idiotic reason for hating something.

  • haley

    i thought nightlight was hilarious. i do think the middle was slow, but this book was worth my $13.95

  • Zaharah

    I for one AM a twilight fan and i found Nightlight hilarious. Im using it in a book review assignment and seeing all these fellow twihards comments made me groan because they only hate it because its making fun of their beloved twilight

  • Angela

    I just started reading this. So far it is hilarious. I hope there is a sequel :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niGjxQC5xgc AriaStar

    i am a big twilight fan and i read this book just for fun and i thought it was the MOST HILARIOUS book i have EVER read! its so random and crazy that while my class were “silent reading time” i read this really funny part and i laughed out really really loud! and people were like staring at mii…HAHAHAHAhahaha…heh…good times goooood times. ^_^

  • Allison

    I am a somewhat fan of twilight. And when I read this book i practically peed myself. It was absolutely hilarious. I love the way they portray Belle Goose!!! One of the best books I have ever read. /^_^\

  • Abigail

    i am the biggest hater of twilight EVER!!!!! I read book 1-3 and thought they were super stalkerish and far fetched. Bella, who isn’t unique or special in anyway does NOT deserve a vampire boyfriend. Also it has an awful message. Bella gives up her entire life for a guy (who’s kinda creepy and WAY over protective) Then she gets married at 18 and ends up with a werewolf/vampire/human baby named Renesme. I haven’t read the nightlight yet but I’m looking forward to it because my favorite things to do are talk about Harry Potter, and trash twilight as much as I can. this book will make a great Xmas present and I’m soo excited to read it.

    • http://www.bellasshelf.com/ Bella’s Shelf

      just a vampire human baby jacob imprints on..lmao

  • Danielle

    As a Twilight fan, who has read all of the books, I’d like to chime in that I am reading Nightlight currently and that it is making me laugh out loud. Belle Goose is a fantastic caricature of Bella Swan. The review is bang on in saying the middle section of the book is a little slow, but over all it is worth a good laugh. I think fans will enjoy it more than non-fans, because the jokes are all the funnier when you understand what it is from.

  • http://www.bellasshelf.com/ Bella’s Shelf

    sadly the book was not hysterical at all. it was retarded.

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