Saturday, December 8, 2012
Fanpire by Tanya Erzen
An author immerses herself in the frenzied fandom of Twilight, the young-adult vampire romance series that has captivated women of all ages
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer’s young-adult vampire romance series, has captivated women of all ages, from teenagers who swoon over the film adaptations to college-educated women who devour the novels as a guilty pleasure. All told, over 110 million copies of the books have been sold worldwide, with translations into 37 languages, and the movies are some of the highest-grossing of all time. Twilight is a bona fide cultural phenomenon that has inspired a vast and unimaginably fertile fan subculture—the “fanpire,” as the members describe it.
Just what is it about Twilight that has enchanted so many women? Tanya Erzen—herself no stranger to the allure of the series—sets out to explore the irresistible pull of Twilight by immersing herself in the vibrant and diverse world of “Twi-hards,” from Edward-addition groups and “Twi-rock” music to Cullenism, a religion based on the values of Edward’s family of vegetarian vampires. Erzen interviews hundreds of fans online and in person, attends thousand-strong conventions, and watches the film premiere of New Moon with Twilight moms in Utah. Along the way, she joins a tour bus on a pilgrimage to Twilight-inspired sites, struggles through a Bella self-defense class, and surveys the sub-universe of Twilight fan-fiction (including E. L. James’s enormously popular “Master of the Universe” story, the basis for her erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey).
Erzen also takes a deeper look at the appeal of traditional gender roles in a postfeminist era saturated with narratives of girl power. If Twilight’s fantasies of romance and power reflect the fears, insecurities, and longings of the women who love it, the fanpire itself, Erzen shows, offers a space for meaningful bonding, mutual understanding, and friendship.
Part journalistic investigation and part cultural analysis, Fanpire will appeal to obsessed fans, Twilight haters, and bemused onlookers alike.
This review is hard for me to write. I am very indifferent about Fanpire. I felt no strong emotions either good or bad while reading it. I think that might be because I am not a gigantic fan of The Twilight Saga. When it first came out, I really liked it. Then right before the movie was released Twilight was everywhere. Eventually, I got so sick and tired of hearing about Twilight that I grew to majorly dislike it. Anyways, some parts of the book were interesting. It was kind of fun learning about all of the weird and crazy Twilight products out there. You can buy anything from Twilight Barbie dolls to Edward dildos. It was neat learning about all of the different conventions. I would have never guessed that the U.S. holds that many Twilight conventions across the country. Some of the fans are crazy, but I guess you get that with every fan base. It was also cool to hear about 50 Shades of Grey when it was still the Twilight fan fic, Master of the Universe.
I give Fanpire: 3/5.
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I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.