Book Review: Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon

Nightlight: A ParodyNightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

My rating: ★★

Two stars, I know. Can I really complain about Twilight parodies when I jump into one published in 2009? I feel like I’ve just about seen the best of them, but: do Twilight parodies ever get old? I wonder.

Why yes, my fifteen-year-old self did indeed venture into the wasteland of grammatical errors and bland writing found in Twilight (and, to my shame, New Moon). I don’t recall much in general, because nothing but the hilarity of Edward’s diamond-esque skin made a lasting impression. Of course, it is my opinion–one shared by many, many people–that the Twilight series is an all-around good example of poor writing, so I rather enjoy all the mockery. (No offense intended.) So how does this parody stand up to others and the original story?

My Twilight copy is long-gone, but I recently acquired The Host. My aunt nearly bulged her eyes out of their sockets raving about it last month. “IT IS SOOOOO GOOD,” she says. I am a cautious being, but I said to myself, You’re non pre-judgmental. Don’t be a snotface even though you kind of are. Test it out; appease your aunt. So once again, my brain shriveled as I trudged through an entire two pages (whoa, my god) of The Host. It was painful, and I don’t say that lightly. To elaborate:

Pity swelled in his heart as he remembered the condition her poor, broken body had been in when the Seekers had brought her to the Healing facility. Such pain she’d endured. . . .

Fords was surprised to hear the sharp edge marring his normally soothing voice.

And then there is this gem of a sentence…

Fords gave Darren a look that could only be described as a glare.

Egh. I feel Twilight dread all over again. (Honestly, I question my aunt’s literary taste, and for that I pray she never finds me on GR.) This isn’t a review for The Host, and I will try to limit my Smeyer bashing to a minimum, but this book is the only one I have in possession for a comparison. As per its nature as a parody, Nightlight magnifies Meyer’s writing style and reflects just how ridiculous it is. Belle Goose is the hyperbole of Bella Swan, only I give Belle some credit for asserting her needs:

“Please come with me to my car, Belle,” he offered gently, limping towards me. “I mean, only if you want to.”

“Uh-uh. Not with that attitude.”

“Pretty please?”

I shook my head disappointedly. “What’s the magic verb form?”

Belle,” he groaned. “We don’t have time for this. Plus I hate when you make me do this.”

Imperative, Edwart. The magic verb form is imperative. 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.”

“Okay, okay.” He took a deep breath and pointed at me. “You,” he said stiffly, the words flowing straight from some primordial, bossy wordbank. “Come to the place where you want to go, which, hopefully, is my car, where I will be, God willing.”

While Nightlight takes the original plot and twists it around some, my care to read on and finish it wavered. I would smile through a few paragraphs and then lose interest. What I thought would make for an entertaining way to pass time turned into several days of trekking through jokes that could have been funny. Unfortunately, the jokes drag out.

“You’ve grown so big–I didn’t recognize you without the umbilical cord, I suppose.”

Ha ha, right? But it carries on:

Had it really been that long? Had I really not seen my dad since I was thirteen and going through my pet umbilical cord phase?

Humor is, to me, a highly subjective genre and hence a difficult one to write. We all find different things funny, and it’s a distinction that varies across culture and regions. Regardless, Nightlight has its moments. The gaudy and awkward style subtly reflects (though takes a strong jab at) the horror of Meyer literature. In the same light, I wish the humor had not been overly exaggerated and left alone once the punchline was delivered. There are a great number of other parodies to choose from, and while I don’t think I’ll ever read Twilight a second time, I believe that is capable of earning more laughs than this.

(It is all right. Meyer was simply published under the wrong genre.
Okay, okay–I’ve had my snooty fill for the day.)

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13 thoughts on “Book Review: Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon

  1. Found your blog throught ‘The Streelight Reader’ after you nominated her for an award and this review made me laugh an awful lot. I have to agree with everything you said about Twilight and I have the host to read too, since my friends are raving to me about how good it is and I am incredibly wary too. I suppose I’ll have to read it to appease them, but you don’t give me hope! And one of my friends at least I thought had good literary taste.

    You seem to have a fantastic blog here and I’ll certainly be looking out for more of your fantastic reviews!

    • Thank you!

      Someone told me that The Host picks up half-way, which is still a drag since the book is over 600 pages! I was prepared to call it quits and return my aunt’s copy last week.

      “Are you reading The Host?!” She sounded so excited that I didn’t have the heart to tell it was in my car ready to hand back! Ahh, it’ll be a long read, that is for sure.

      • Well I hope it picks up for both you and me (when I get around to it). I know one of my friends gave up hope at 25 pages and 2 words, she was very specific about this saying it was a drag and the wording was so small she needed a magnifying glass. It did make me chuckle. Ahhhh, well I hope you manage to make your way through it to get your aunt of your case and ease the guilty conscience! haha.

    • Ha, that’s funny, because I read up to page 23 before I almost pulled hair out in frustration. Your friend is right: it really does drag! I’m thinking of reading it in very small chunks — it’s one way to prolong the pain, but if I read it for too long in one sitting I think I might cry.

      • Very amusing. Must be something in those first 23 pages that’s veryyyy bad! Oh dear, that’s not good at all. I’ve heard they’re making a film out of it too, one of the reasons my friends are urging me to read the book. I actually bought it too… Thinking that may have been a waste of good money!

    • So strange — I keep having to fetch your comments from the spam filter!

      Ooh, they are! I noticed shortly after the movie preview came out The Host became part of a series. :\ It’s not a very impressive movie trailer, either. I saw it when I went to see The Hunger Games. It snagged my curiosity a tiny bit, but it was my aunt’s raving that ultimately tied me down into reading it. My guess is the movie will be more tolerable than the book.

      Oh, no! I hate buying books I end up disliking, because I can’t help but think of a better book I should have purchased instead.

      • Really? Obviously it’s deeming me as spam… That’s not cool. haha. The host became part of a series? o.O Ahh, I haven’t bothered to watch it. Hmmmm… probably like the Twilight series because at least there is some semi-decent eye candy to keep one entertained. Exactly my reasoning. Now I feel rather depressed. :( haha.

      • The filter or this post doesn’t like you for some reason.

        It did! It strikes me as another money deal for Meyer after the amount she reeled in from Twilight. (I couldn’t believe there’s even a Twilight graphic novel — which I just read, lol. I like Bella’s hair, but that’s about it.) I hope the other Host books that follow aren’t nearly as long as the first.

      • Ahhh no! :( That’s not good.

        Yes, certainly does. I don’t think Meyer has talent really, she just seems out for fame and money. After all, she insisted on being in the Twilight films to get a little recognition which annoyed me when you see her sat smiling like an idiot. I’m not sure whether I feel nauseus at the thought of more Meyer out there for the world to read. E. L. James is basically a mirror of Stephanie Meyer but for adults too!

      • Agreed! Sparkling vampires aside: I’ve meet teens who have more writing skill. (I’d expect more experience and seasoned writing from someone older like Meyer, you know?) Meyer doesn’t seem to have a good copy editor, either, and the Twilight phenomenon remains one giant mystery to me.

        Do you think you’ll ever test out Fifty Shades of Grey? I thought about it once, if only to join in on the humor, but I don’t think I can tolerate the poor writing.

      • Exactly! You’re right, Meyer should have more experience, but she seems to fall flat on her face. Mary Shelley wrote an amazing book at 19 and yet Meyer is so much older and writes trash!
        Agreed!
        Ahhh, well it has been something to debate over. I got the e-book because I refuse to buy the actual paperback and be seen reading such a dreadful book in all this hype. It’s so painful. At times I think oohhhh and then there are so many errors and the characters are so annoying. There are thousands of plot holes like one moment she’s stood, the next she’s sprawled across the bed. One moment their in a helicopter an hour away and two minutes later they’re landing. It just doesn’t piece together well. So I’m trying it out, but I’m keeping that on the down-low because I can’t say I’m reading it for the reason so many other people are. I very nearly skim read the porn parts. Seriously, it’s depressing. He’s all “You’re mine and I’m going to f**k you hard.” And she’s a virgin and yet she’s up for multiple rounds. It doesn’t fit! Sorry if I gave anything away there. haha.

      • Speaking of Shelley: I really would like to read Frankenstein soon! I’m making a goal to read it before 2012 is over.

        Ha ha, I’ve read some hilarious excerpts — but they’re largely hilarious for how poorly written it all is! (I really enjoyed reading this post — cracked me up, and I couldn’t resist sharing the fun with people: http://circlesunderstreetlights.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/let-me-be-your-subordinate-clause-fifty-shades-of-grammar/) I’m still waiting to find out how they’re going to make the Fifty Shades movies without it classifying as hardcore porn. Giant face palm!

      • I fell in love with the book myself! However, I’ve heard a lot of people call it boring, so I’m not sure which side you’ll fall into.
        Ahhh, that was certainly a wonderful review. I laughed so much reading it. YES! I wonder that myself! There is no way in which they’ll be able to do it, not at all! Unless they take out the whole of the porn which makes the book! ahaha.

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