Chris's Reviews > Twilight

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
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Nov 21, 2007

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Read in November, 2007

I actually had to give this book three separate reviews by three sides of my personality. My three-star rating is the median of the three:

Review 1, by My Inner Fifteen Year Old Girl (5 stars):
Bella is smart, funny, well-read, pretty and yet misunderstood by most of her peers (just like me). Then she meets a cool, hot guy who turns out to be a good vampire, and he can do really cool things, like run fast and stop cars with his hands, but he's still sweet and wonderful. It's ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy -- what's not to like? Meyers can make your heart speed up with some of the tense, tortured "we must be together/no, what if i hurt you" pg-13 erotica.

Review 2, by My Fan of YA Lit (3 Stars):
Meyers can tell a pretty good story, when she lets herself actually tell it -- the book starts out well, and would have been a bit more interesting if I hadn't known he was a vampire all along. Then it slows down during the long "getting to know you" dialogue exchanges between Edward and Bella -- there's no plot, just back-story and exposition disguised as conversations, and far too many "I can't be with you, I don't want to hurt you!" "But I love you, I don't care about danger!" back-and-forths. When the evil vamps show up, however, the story kicks back in and the end is quite exciting. When Meyers isn't dwelling on how perfectly angelic Edward is (again!) she can get the pages turning. Since there are A LOT of pages to turn, I wish she would have infused that urgency into the story more often. While abandoning most of the conventional cliches of vampire-lore (stakes, sunlight, garlic, coffins) she keeps all the modern-vamp-romance cliches (alabaster skin, good hair, expensive taste in clothes, tragically distant), and adds a few of her own unfortunate twists (vampires avoid the sun because it makes them sparkle, the good-vamp clan play some extreme version of baseball in a scene that was far too Quidich-y for my taste). Too many cliches or trying to hard to be original -- somehow both criticisms are accurate.

Review 3, by My Inner Feminist (1 Star):
Meyers describes Bella as being strong, brave, and independent, but then shows her as a spineless, cowering victim who needs to be saved by her violently jealous and over-protective boyfriend. She constantly goes on and on about how Edward is perfect at everything and how he's so gorgeous and she is so unworthy of him, how he's so strong and he protects her. In fact, she never gives any reason for liking him other than how hot he is, but that's fair because Edward never gives a reason for liking her other than she smells good. He is frustrated that Bella is the only person whose thoughts he can't read, so he eavesdrops on her friends minds to find out what they talk about, he follows her whenever she leaves her house, and he secretly camps outside her room when she sleeps - that doesn't sound sweet, it sounds creepy. If girls want a romantic, conflicted vampire/human romance, they should go watch the firs three seasons of Buffy -- not only is there the dark, mysterious, conflicted vampire, but the girl he's in love with can kick some serious ass all on her own.
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02/03/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 160) (160 new)

message 1: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chris Thanks! And happy Thanksgiving.

message 2: by Hope (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Hope Thanks for the review - now I don't have to waste any time reading it. If you want an interesting vampire/strong girl story, Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a good one to try. More like Buffy, sort of.

Lizzy I really liked this book until the end. At the end of each book it got really boring. Like a hurricane exciting at first then ends in disaster.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I must be a bit schizophrenic myself, I loved your review! But, I also love the book.

There is something reminiscent about it, the story, the head over heals for no reason love Bella and Edward have. The 15 year old girl inside, I guess.

Willa Instead of writing my own review, can I just post a link to yours? lol... This is a great review... Spot on!

Jennifer Your review is a delightful crack up.

Harriet I was going to write a review for this but after reading your review I thought why bother?! I think you summed it up perfectly!

message 8: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea i do agree with the inner femminest part. bella really bugs me sometimes. especialy in the 3rd book. all what she does is break hearts. then on top of it all she still takes advantage of edward. i don't even know why i love these books so much......

McKayla Loved the book, loved your review.
You expressed the different points of view the book evokes and amused me all the while.

Cowlover129 I love your post!!! I totally agree with all 3! One day I can read Twilight and totally love it the next day I want to gag becuause I can't stand Bella's sappiness!!!!

Maghan I agree with you one hundred percent. I think the review you wrote was far more entertaining than the book was.

message 12: by Toni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Toni I agree with your inner feminist. It's like from the moment she starts "falling" for Edward, she stops being an intelligent and independent young woman and starts behaving like a pathetic and childish fangirl. It's not exactly the most endearing story in relation to how girls are expected to behave while in love or even for the sake of love.

message 13: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea totaly agree toni. and i would be pretty freaked out if a guy watched me sleep for 8 hours with out me being unaware. talk about stalker...

Janean Great review

message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan Kienlen Very interesting! A teacher friend of mine said she couldn't put it down, read it in one day (She is a fast reader. I don't doubt she got everything too cause she is smart! Plus she will be tutoring a girl with it so she pays attention to things to discuss later) Anyway, I wanted to hear what others thought before I got interested in it. Thanks for your detailed review. I like how you looked at it from different perspectives. Still unsure if I'll read it.

Chris Funny -- I'm a teacher, too. In fact, the only reason I picked it up was that one of my favorite sophomores loved it and was passing it around to all her friends (who pretty much make up the newspaper staff, which I advise). I eventually asked to read it so I could keep up with their conversations. As my review indicates, I didn't exactly love it, but I can also see its appeal to (certain) teenage girls. Much to their disappointment I couldn't bring myself to read the others; instead, I lent Cristina the first season of Buffy on DVD and got her hooked on a vampire story where the main character is a strong, kick-ass fighter, rather than the weak, limpid Bella.

message 17: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Do all female characters have to be "strong"? Aren't there "weak" women out there?

Lizzy wonderful review! Spot on! After reading half the first and then moving on to the second i couldn't get through it. I found it very predictable and cliche. For a book to be appealing to teen girls all you need to add it some romance, supernatural, mean villain and some 'danger'. Usually I love these kind of books! I'm only a teenage girl and I loathed this story. Bella was a strong girl in the beginning till she fell for Edward and became weak and dependent on him! It's what a teenaged girl (but not me) wants to hear. A Faery Tale.

message 19: by Toni (new) - rated it 3 stars

Toni "4373 Do all female characters have to be "strong"? Aren't there "weak" women out there?"

Would you ask the same thing of male protagonists?

Willa Bryan: "Do all female characters have to be "strong"? Aren't there "weak" women out there?"

No, not all female characters have to be strong, but the ones set to become role models for teenage girls should be. Weak female characters should only be examples of how not to act, IMO.

message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan Kienlen I hear that Bella shows strength in the second or maybe the third book.

Chris I'll ditto Willa. Protagonists (male and female) in young adult lit play double roles -- first as interesting characters and second as role models. The second role isn't necessary in literature that is not aimed squarely at a teen audience, alowing an author to have weak/abusive/greedy characters as much as they want.

The same does hold true for male characters -- I expect the men in YA lit to be role models as well, in ways I don't expect it of men in non YA lit. Lolita is one of my favorite novels, but for obvious reasons I would object to a YA novel whose main character was a sexual predator.

Bella's largest literary crime, however, is that she also fails in the first role -- she is not an interesting character. She is a flat, helpless character who inspires less compassion and empathy than pitty.

Michael This novel is a straight-out romance first and a YA second. That Bella is uninteresting and dull isn't a flaw in a romance, it's just part of the territory. Edward loves her despite how passive and boring she is. Kind of what every girl reader longs for--no need to act; love will come find you. But for the rest of us ... ho-hum.

message 24: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Toni: Yes, I would absolutely ask the same thing of male characters. Weakness can make for compelling drama. Do you watch Battlestar Galactica? Gaius Baltar gives into his weaknesses constantly.

But as Chris alludes to, there is a difference between weak and flat/lifeless. I haven't read the book yet, but as he described Bella, I too would be bored by a character who was flat/lifeless. After reading the first 2 Harry Potter books, I gave up on them for just that reason. I didn't find Harry to be an interesting character.

Willa, Chris: I know very little about the psychology of pre-teeens and teens who read YA fiction, but I'm not quite convinced that they seek to emulate characters they find entertaining in fiction. And even if they do, I'm sure most kids are perfectly able to be entertained but filter out the negative examples.

Chris I agree that most kids are able to filter out negative examples -- that's why I've never told my vamp-obsessed students not to read these books, and in fact have encouraged their enthusiastic reading of volume after volume. Lord knows when I was their age I adored and devoured everything by David Eddings, which is just as juvenile and badly written (plus contains some of the most anti-Arabic xenophobia disguised as fantasy I've ever read, and I survived that terrible influence). My personal preference is for interesting YA characters that, though not perfect, can in some way act as a role model.

And although my kids don't emulate everyone they see in fiction and can filter out negative examples, our sense of personal identity is shaped by the portrayals we see around it -- both in real life and in all forms of media. I teach in the South Bronx, and this is especially true for my students. Black and Latino teens are constantly given negative stereotypes of themselves, and the young women get it twice as bad, as they also grow up with all the negative images of women that our society perpetuates. While I know that one mediocre vamp-romance won't suddenly brain-wash them, I think that the "passive/weak woman who needs to be saved" is one of the more pervasive and dangerous stereotypes that entertainment media teachers. Is it an actual fantasy that (some) women have? Of course. But like other pornography, I think its better aimed at an adults who already have a healthy idea of what an actual mature relationship is.

Will it kill them? No. Like I said, I actual encourage them to get the newest books. I wish they'd read something a bit better written and with better characters, so I encourage them to watch Buffy (and read the new comics, which rock!), and read such books as Sabriel, the truth about Smek Day, Speak, and anything by Bloor.

message 26: by Chanel (last edited Jul 23, 2008 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Chanel Earl Do all female characters have to be strong? Do all male characters have to be strong?

All people aren't heroes/heroines, and most have strengths and weaknesses. I think it would be sad if every book character had to be.

There are also many types of strength, and even though Bella is not on my list of favorite heroines, she shows strength a lot during the book. She shows bravery, self-sacrifice and kindness; she makes and stands by her own decisions regardless of what others think. She is imperfect and has weaknesses, but I am so glad she isn't the ideal feminist heroine. She is seventeen, and I don't know any seventeen year old strong, ideal feminists who are always completely rational.

message 27: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea well. there are weak people out there but none of them would be out of their mind to the point where they can't even protect themselves in the highest moment of need. its the body's natural instict to fight or flight. but bella does neither. she hides. which is the lowest form of.. for lack of a better word, wimpyness.
i also think that bella shows to much self sacrifice! who in their right mind would kill themselves because a guy left them. i'm sorry but she shows girls it's ok to do the things she does. personaly i would be freaked out if a guy was watching me sleep. not over thrown with joy.

Chanel Earl "who in their right mind would kill themselves because a guy left them."

Oh, I don't know, Juliet. Literature is full of examples of obsessive lovers. Meyer wasn't introducing anything new when she characterized a seventeen year old girl who has just fallen in love for the first time as irrational.

message 29: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea i said in their right mind. juliet was not in her right mind. neither was romeo. and besides, meyer states that looks don't matter, but thats all edward and bella's relationship is based off! the only thing bella ever says about edward is that he's hot, his chest is chizzled, his eyes make me faint. even his smell entises her. i never once heard, no matter how corny it sounds, "he has a great personality." which he doesn't.

oh and i personaly think that edward raises expectations for guys. i have heard repeatidly "he's no edward."

and that is just scrating the surface on what i hate about twilight.

Chanel Earl The funny thing is that I didn't like the book that much at all. I thought the writing was mediocre and the story line was unoriginal. I was really bothered by a lot of the romance, because it seemed so over the top.

But for some reason, the objections you have raised don't bother me at all. I never thought for a minute that Bella only liked him because he was hot. I thought that they liked each other because they were fated to. He has lived ninety years and never fallen in love, she has been chased by a lot of other guys and said no because she wasn't looking for someone to date. When love comes so strongly and unexpectedly (and I am, to the bitter end, a hopeless romantic) this is the kind of story you get. The story of two people who are silly, irrational and obsessed.

Anyway, like I said, Twilight wasn't the greatest book ever written, and the characters are silly. But I have problems with the idea that Bella and Edward, because they are the heroes of the book, have to live up to some standard of strength and perfection. They don't. They can be wimpy, childish, or even out of their minds, because people (even teenagers) are.

I think it is funny that people are saying "He's no Edward." When I was in high school, they were saying "He's no Mr. Darcy."

Chris But Mr. Darcy was an interesting character. That what it really boils down to -- both Edward and Bella are BORING.

Chanel Earl I couldn't agree more.

message 33: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea i do agree with that. but unlike you two, i don't have any experiance with love like that. i am only 14. but i think the reason i don't like those books are becase i don't like the main character. its kind of hard to enjoy a book when you don't like the person the view is coming from.

mr. darcy was interesting.(i have read pride and predijuce.) but bella isn't. and edward is at times but not realy.

message 34: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa I LOVE your review.

Chris Lisa: Thanks.

Lea: Keep believing that boyfriends who watch you when you sleep without telling you are creepy. If you'd rather be Elizabeth Bennet than Bella, you're on the right path to being a cool young woman.

message 36: by lea (new) - rated it 5 stars

lea thanks.

message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan Thank you for giving me a reason to read this book, and then some reasons not to read this book right now. It would be helpful if more reviews looked at a book from different points of view as you have.

message 38: by Arya (new) - rated it 5 stars

Arya Hey great review! I completely and toatally agree with you. I have a love/hate rea;ationship going with the Stephanie Meyer books. However I have read all four of the twilight saga books. I was hooked from page one of Twilight, but felt that the way Bella depended so completely on Edward was pathetic and sad. When he left in book 2 and Jacob was in the picture, I liked it. It was more healthy for Bella to have an existance outside of Edward Cullen.

message 39: by Sarah (new) - rated it 1 star


Paige Excellent review.
I think splitting into three perspectives really helps explain the love/hate relationship many people have with this book.

Paige Excellent review.
I think splitting into three perspectives really helps explain the love/hate relationship many people have with this book.

Paige Thanks. Very good review.
I think splitting it into three perspectives really helped to elucidate the love/hate relationship many people have with this book.

Paige Sorry I posted that twice. It said there was an error and it hadn't posted the first time, but it lied.

Jamila Couldn't agree more! I had all of these thoughts/feelings as well.

Chris Jamnazzie:
Thanks. I also have to ask -- is your avatar pic from the Southern Oregon coast? It looks just like a spot near Gold Beach where I grew up . . .

Jamila It's in Hawaii - although I can see why you may think Oregon!

Phoebe I couldn't agree more.

Stephanie ditto on Chris' review.

message 49: by Haengbok92 (new)

Haengbok92 Your review definitely helps make sense of the wildly conflicting opinions I've seen of this book. (bet it does depend on your reader hat) All of my writer friends say it sucks (the prose style, imagery, dialogue, characters etc. are wholly unoriginal/dull, and I agree with this from having read the first chapter) and that the book basically makes no sense, but then at Thanksgiving I was overwhelmed with people fervently recommending it because the writing was so good, the plot was fantastic, characterization rocked etc. (of course, none of them were writers). So in short, great review. Now at least I don't have to feel compelled to suffer through the rest of it.

message 50: by Chloe (new) - rated it 1 star

Chloe Smith i loved the book. i never got bored with it. but also im a teenager and most teeagers like the romance stuff. alot people have different veiwings of the book, but i think anyone whos interested in the book enough to read review should read the book for themselves.

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