Ciara's Reviews > Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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May 15, 09

bookshelves: kids-books, read-in-2009
Recommended for: only people who wish to have an informed opinion about these books
Read in May, 2009, read count: once

these books are extraordinarily polarizing, but i didn't feel okay about having an opinion without having read them myself. i have to admit, i'm not proud of having read this book. let's say i read one hundred books a year for eighty years of my life. that means that i will only read 8000 books in my lifetime--a mere drop in the bucket when you think of all the books out there. so why do i waste time on books like twilight, or books by jessica valenti? thankfully, i'm a fast reader. i only spent about four hours on this book.

my verdict: the rumors are true, stephanie meyer really is a piss-poor writer. one piece of excellent writing advice i once read is that adjectives are to be used as mere seasoning. why should you have to explain that a character did something "sadly" or "wildly" or "blankly" if you can provide more vivid context clues through characterization or plot? this, of course, assumes that meyer is familiar with the concepts of characterization & plot. having plowed through all 498 pages of this book, i can say with confidence that she considers these ideas mere trifles. what she really needs is an editor. this book could have been half the length & it wouldn't have suffered at all. i really don't need to hear about edward's perfect adonis-like butterscotch-eyed beauty on EVERY OTHER PAGE, but thanks.

a common critique: the book is kind of sexist. edward has all the hallmarks of an abusive, controlling, manipulative boyfriend. he thwarts bella's free will. all true. probably the most egregiously cringe-inducing moment of the book comes when bella goes to a nearby town with friends to go shopping. she splits off from her buddies & gets lost. she is cornered down a dark street by a group of menacing dudes. she decides she's too far away from the main strip to outrun them (especially because she claims she is dangerously clumsy--really? is anyone in the whole world so clumsy that they can't run two blocks when their life depends on it? one of my closest friends is going blind & has been known to walk smack into street lights just because he doesn't see them, but i think he could run for his life in a pinch) & also too far away for anyone to hear her screams, so she gets ready to fight them. edward zooms up in his car & saves her. he asks her later why she didn't look afraid of the men & she explains that she was concentrating on remembering self-defense moves. he sighs & uses this as further evidence of her complete inability to preserve her own life, thinking she would have been a lot smarter to run or scream. hey, edward? fuck you.

one of the biggest ick factors for me though is the whole idea that edward & bella meet each other, in high school, & *boom* they are in love. just like that. edward is apparently irresistably attracted by bella's scent & the fact that he can't read her mind & she doesn't have normal predictable human reactions to stuff. bella is attracted to edward because--we get it, already--he's super hot. hey, guys? maybe this isn't love. there is a pretty significant gulf between love & obsession, & even the first blushes of true love fade eventually so that sometimes all you want to do is sit around & read a book or maybe take a walk & not spend all of eternity having long heartfelt conversations with your beloved. i am super-critical of most romantic narratives anyway, & this one makes no effort to be subtle, nuanced, cautious, intelligent, or particularly believable. it's seriously just the stuff 17-year-old's daydreams are made of, except that it came from the pen of a woman old enough to know better. it reads like fan fiction & bella is the ultimate mary sue.

i wish edward would just turn her into a vampire already & get it over with. i can't even imagine what the next two books contain besides more confessions of ridiculous, embarrassing, eternal love & more of bella begging edward to turn her into a vampire, before he finally does it & they can get on with having their monster babies & being teenage vampire parents. what a stellar message for junior high girls across the world!
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