Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Holy cow, this book is ridiculous. I admit, I was caught up in it at first. But as the story progressed, the sap-level began to rise so much, I thought the pages would start sticking to my fingers. If you’ve never heard the term “purple prose”, google it and you’ll get what I’m saying.
I can understand the popularity with young adult readers, mainly teenage girls. But the fascination and sheer giddiness it inspires in grown adults just boggles my mind.
A friend of mine mentioned that on one of his message boards, some of the people were cracking jokes about the movie and the sparkly vampires. We laughed, because it was obviously a joke about the makeup done in the movie. But when I was about halfway through the book, I finally realized it was no joke, or at least, not a joke from the readers. The author actually wrote a completely new twist on the vampire syndrome. The reason they can’t go out in the sun isn’t because they’re afraid of roasting alive, but of blinding the average human. The vampires actually sparkle in the sun, like they’re covered in chips of crystal, or possibly craft glitter.
I called my friend as soon as I read those lines. Together, we almost died laughing at the sheer absurdity of Stephanie Meyer’s portrayal. These vampires aren’t scary, they don’t even seem supernatural. They’re every girl’s fantasy of the perfect teenage hearthrob. *gag* As the first book was based off of a (wet)dream of Stephanie Meyer’s, I’m fairly certain it’s her fantasy, too.
I can see why they’ve become the Harry Potter of the hormone driven teen set, but I’ll never understand how grown women can turn themselves into twittering girls over bad cliches and sub-par writing. And honestly, I didn’t think most teenagers, boy or girl, would have so willingly lapped up such drivel.
Our heroine, Isabella (Bella) Swan, moves in with her dad after her mom follows the new husband on the road. I already had problems with the story at this point, because it was so obvious how self-sacrificing Bella was being. And I mean, OBVIOUS, like flashing neon lights. Look, she’s so Mature and Understanding! Look! Meyer is not subtle in any way.
Her dad lives in the rainiest town in the country, Forks, Washington, and is the local sheriff. Of course, that’s pretty much all you ever learn about him. Her parents are cardboard cutouts, merely there to advance the plot and give a shaky reason for Bella to exist. Bella, supposedly a klutz and socially awkward, becomes the instant BFF of everyone she meets at school. Except for the Cullen Family. They are Mysterious and Interesting, and Edward Cullen thinks Bella smells bad.
Fast forward. Bella and Edward slowly (and by slowly I mean two weeks) fall in love. Bella begins to suspect that Edward might be unnatural, especially after he saves her with his super-human strength, (unfortunately) preventing her from being crushed by a skidding car. It’s finally revealed that, Gasp!, he’s a vampire, and so is his whole family. What follows is some of the worst (published) writing I’ve ever read, in more ways than one.
Bella is basically your every-woman. The reader is meant to see themselves in her place, and dream about being
stalked and eaten by vampires loved forever. However, by leaving her personality so open, we are left with an entirely uninteresting character. There is absolutely no reason that Edward should fall in love with her. And Bella has no ambition, no desires, no driving force. Her favorite past-times are cooking, running errands, and dreaming about Edward. She also faints a lot, (A LOT!), and constantly talks about how all she really wants is to be together always with this guy she met a month ago.
They also can’t be physically intimate, sometimes even to the point of no kissing or touching, because Edward is afraid he’ll lose control and
rape eat Bella. Did I mention Stephanie Meyer is Mormon? If you don’t know why this is important, I don’t have time to explain it to you. Suffice it stay, it’s very relevant, and this book, on top of being really bad, comes with a very thinly veiled agenda. (Abstinence is BEST!) I don’t have a thing against the religion, but Meyer is trumpeting her own version of it in Twilight.
I don’t understand the appeal of Twilight, and I know even as a teenager that I had much more discriminating tastes. Bella is almost anti-feminist in her attitudes and actions, never saving herself, always thinking about a boy before herself, and centering her entire world around someone who is actually pretty creepy. Edward stalks her, patronizes her, and often treats her like a very young and slightly brain-damaged child.
If I had a daughter, this isn’t a book I would ever, ever want her to read. I wouldn’t want her to suffer for hours wading through this slag, and I really wouldn’t want her coming away from it with the message that the only true path to being beautiful and popular is to be a good little woman and let some guy solve all your problems. Or let a guy be your problem. Or that Stephanie Meyer is a good writer.
I tried reading New Moon, but as soon as I opened the book, I started going into diabetic shock and had to take it back to the library.
For a hilarious twist, watch this interview with Robert Pattinson, the actor who plays Edward in the equally terrible movie. You can tell he’s desperate to be released from his contract, and that Stephanie Meyer creeps him the hell out.