Eileen Stevens gives a low-key performance of The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by American writer Harrison Geillor. Her husky voice and deadpan delivery lend the satirical material an air of seriousness. Heroine Bonnie Grayduck leaves Santa Cruz, California, for Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, where she meets the mysterious hottie Edwin Scullen. Edwin’s secret? He’s a vampire, like the rest of his family, but he’s after Bonnie’s affections rather than her blood. Joachim Noir, a werebear, is also sweet on Miss Grayduck. Though there are many dangerous creatures roaming about in this send-up of the popular Twilight series, it appears that klutzy Bonnie is the biggest monster of them all.
A small town...a plucky heroine, a shiny vampire, and a hunky Native American rival with a secret. But all is not as it seems in Lake Woebegotten. Let Harrison Geillor reveal what lies beneath the seemingly placid surface. You'll Laugh. We promise.
When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz California to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she's leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student - the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they're actually vampires. But they're the kind who don't eat people, so it's okay.) Once Bonnie realizes what her new lover really is, she isn't afraid. Instead, she sees potential. Because while Bonnie seems to her friends and family to be an ordinary, slightly clumsy, easily-distracted girl, she's really manipulative, calculating, and power hungry, and not above committing murder to get her way. Or even just to amuse herself.
This is a love story about monsters...but the vampire isn't the monster.
I think in order to appreciate Mr. Geillor’s storytelling one can’t take the source material too seriously. I’ll say upfront that I am not a fan of the Twilight series, and I imagine that diehard fans would not enjoy this send-up of their beloved story. It’s less a love story and more a dark fable about power and seduction, lies, secrets and manipulation. And while the story is funny, it’s not as funny as “Zombies of Lake Woebegotten,” and it is more sarcastic than laugh-out-loud hilarious. This story is dark and the primary character, Bonnie Grayduck, is rather unlikeable, not because she is bland and under-developed, like the character in the original story, but because she is a self-professed monster.
Geillor, whoever he or she really is, can write, and he wrote the heck out of these characters. He took the source material out of the young adult world and placed it firmly in the adult world. He took trite characters, twisted them up, and gave them characteristics that made them interesting. He plotted this story not so that one thing happens, and then the next and the next, although that does happen, but the plot unfolds through the characters and the consequences of their actions. If you read “Zombies” then you’ll remember Principal Levitt. He reappears in this story, and who he is, is important to the story because who he is drives his actions and his actions have serious consequences. Things don’t just happen to Principal Levitt and he doesn’t just respond.
Finally, I have to wonder if it is “Ms.” Geillor, and not “Mr.” because while the story is dark and violent there are a number of observations that are straight out of a feminine experience. I think women are less afraid of their own dark sides, and we know how and when to hitch on a smile and play along in order spare someone’s ego or avoid a conflict when what we really want to do is burn something to the ground. And maybe I just like the idea of this kind of story being written by a woman.
Eileen Stevens did an amazing job narrating this book, especially the voice of Bonnie, but… I did miss Phil Gigante’s baritone. He would have been wonderful as the Narrator, especially in Garrison Keillor mode.
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Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
I didnt like the Twilight series and thought this would be funnier because I really liked the Zombies of Lake Woebegotten. It was ok, but maybe too close to the Twilight series, gag. The author is a good writer, maybe too good because I really hated the Bonnie character.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
I had it figured out before the end
Which scene was your favorite?
None really, I think the author was too good as I really hated Bonnie and everything to do with her.
Do you think The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No, unless Edwin turns on Bonnie and kills her in a fit of rage because he realizes he has been played by a sociopath
Any additional comments?
I would read others by this author
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, it was familiar but took alternate routes that made this a new and interesting version of Twilight. Nicely done.
Who was your favorite character and why?
The Narrator, referring to the character in the story not Eileen Stevens who did fit well for this audio.
Which scene was your favorite?
Bonnie "turning" process and who caused it was fitting even if it were predictable.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
The last chapter and how the "Narrator" put the possibility to a great conclusion of this book together.
Any additional comments?
I would not call this a spoof as I would interpret that to mean a comic version. I did not find this funny but an alternate version of Twilight, making this for me a different story altogether.