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March 6, 2009

twilight book coverSo yesterday, I wrote a blog post about the female heroine in my novel. Now it seems like kismet because I just finished reading the last book in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.

I’m quite late to the table because 1) Stephenie Meyer’s books are for young adults; and 2) I’m really not into fantasy novels. However, my husband nagged me until I picked them up (half-off) at the grocery store last week, and I breezed through all four books over the weekend.

The books in the Twilight series are called TWLIGHT (duh), NEW MOON, ECLIPSE and BREAKING DAWN. They constitute the continuing saga of a vampire-human love story (where have I heard that before?), and TWLIGHT is Meyer’s first foray into publication.

Here’s the thing: I really enjoyed the books, and I whipped through them with something akin to obsession. I really fell in love with the characters as well as the love triangle between Bella Swan, Jacob Black and Edward Cullen. The fact that the books were written both for and about teenagers didn’t really make a difference.

I will say, however, that despite my enjoyment of the books, Bella Swan shoves women back a few rungs on the evolutionary ladder. It has been a long time since I’ve read about a female character whose total dependence on a man overshadowed her own personality.

As I was reading, I kept thinking: “Wow, if Bella is ‘dazzled’ by Edward’s perfection one more time, I’m going to hurl myself off the balcony into a patch of particularly thorny rosebushes.”

If you haven’t read the books, I won’t spoil much, but I will say that in NEW MOON Edward decides to leave Bella “for her own good”, and it’s like someone ripped her soul from her chest and forced her to live as a mindless automaton.

She gives up on life because her boyfriend left town. Seriously. She can’t eat, sleep, hang with her friends or even form coherent sentences because she is forced to exist without Edward. What kind of message does that send young girls who are developing their first crushes?

I remember the novelty of young love as a teenager, the pleasant fluttering of my heart whenever a boy I liked entered the room. I remember the awkwardness with which I approached conversations with boys my age, the devastation of realizing that someone I liked didn’t return my affection.

But come on! My grandparents were married for 62 years before Nana passed away, and although Pappy was clearly devastated by his loss, he didn’t crash his 1982 GMC Jimmy into a brick wall at 75 miles per hour because of it. He got on with his life, remembering her fondly and realizing that they would meet again.

I understand that Stephenie Meyer was trying to portray the depth and intensity of their devotion to one another, but I think Bella’s love for Edward could have been depicted in a less demeaning way.

Or maybe, when a relationship doesn’t work out the way we hoped, we should quit our jobs, stop answering our phones and live in solitary mud huts for the rest of our lives. Who’s with me?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2009 2:35 pm

    And that’s just one of the criticisms leveled at these books. I haven’t read them, nor do I plan to (I have way too many other books piling up, and I’m on kind of a classics kick right now). If you can stand some pretty serious slagging on these books, I found this page absolutely hysterical:

    Twilight makes for the best fanwank ever

    The bits at the bottom as quotes from other fictional characters is particularly funny.

  2. Sam Tamlyn permalink*
    March 6, 2009 3:05 pm

    I hadn’t found that one–thanks for the link. I told my husband last night, “I can’t believe I’m about to admit in public that I read these books. ”

    I actually really liked some of the characters, but what amazes me is that it was ever published. Meyer is not what I’d call a talented writer. Grammar mistakes, awkward phrasing, excessive use of cliches–parts were definitely painful to read.

    • May 15, 2017 12:27 am

      Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment did2n#8&17;t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say excellent blog!

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