Twlight Schmilight

That’s right, I’m here to talk about the phenomenon known as Twlight, meaning the series of books written by Stephenie Meyer.

WARNING: This post will contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books and plan to, you may not want to read further. Also, if you have no interest in the series you may not have any interest in the rest of what I have to say. Consider yourselves warned.

When I first heard about “Twilight” I assumed it was for teenagers, and had no interest. Then a bunch of women I “know” on a message board I frequent started talking obsessing about it, and I paid a little more attention, even though I was still not particularly interested. Recently, my dearest friend started reading the books and she could talk of nothing else. She would go on and on about how romantic it was, and how Edward is the man we all wish we could have, and how the books  make you feel like you’re 15 again (she meant that in a good way, believe it or not). And so with that kind of endorsement, because who ignores your best friend when she can’t let go of something, and who doesn’t want to feel 15 again? Wait, who doesn’t want to feel in love with the perfect man? There, that’s better.

So I bought “Twilight” which is the first in the four-book series. It’s a quick, easy read, and I enjoyed it. I won’t tell you what it’s about, since I assume if you’ve read this far you already know. But let me tell you some of the questions I had as I was reading it (and the following 3 books).

Why the hell are the Cullen “kids” enrolled in school? This never rang true for me. Everything we learn about the Cullen family, in this book and the subsequent ones, says there is no way they would be mingling in a school. Since vampires don’t age and they appear to be school-aged, the cover story should have been that they were home schooled, if that was necessary. When I mentioned that  to my friend, she said, “But then how would Bella and Edward meet???” Well, that’s not my problem, that’s the writer’s challenge, but there are plenty of other, more believable ways, they could have met. One possibility would be to accelerate Bella’s job at the sporting goods store (which doesn’t happen till “Eclipse”, I believe) and since the Cullens are such avid “hikers”, they could meet there. Just an example, but I think something that kept in character with the family would have made the book that much stronger.

Please, tell me, what is the attraction between Bella and Edward? I never felt it. Bella thinks Edward is the most beautiful creature she has even seen, and she is mesmerized by him physically. I think we can all agree that an attraction can occur. But the love? I don’t understand how (or why) she fell in love with him. Or he with her. He was attracted to her by the scent of her blood, which he had to overcome just to be around her. Okkkaaay. But tell me again how this translates to the “can’t live without you” love that supposedly grew between them? I know I am the minority, but I never got the Edward-love. Some of his behaviors were outright cruel and abusive, while others, later in the series, struck me as parental. I don’t feel he ever saw Bella as an equal partner. They don’t ever talk to each other! And don’t even get me started on the way he treated her after their “first night”, which occurs in “Breaking Dawn”.

Let’s talk about Jacob. I loved Jacob. I always thought Bella and Jacob made a great couple. Bella even said, more than once, how Jacob was her best friend, and being with him was as easy as breathing. Hello??? Sounds like love to me! And love with a lot more substance than watching someone sleep! (which is all Edward and Bella ever seemed to do together) Jacob and Bella had shared interests, common family values and an attraction. All Edward and Bella had was the attraction. My friend could never understand how I could feel that way about him, but knowing I loved him said that I would be happy with how it was all wrapped up in the end.

Friend – I AM NOT HAPPY WITH HOW IT WAS WRAPPED UP IN THE END! I hated hated hated how the whole imprinting on Renesmee happened (which I saw coming a mile away). I thought it was creepy and gross, honestly.

My last big bone of contention was Bella’s desire, very early on, to be transformed into a vampire. OK, I know this is fantasy people. I get that. But c’mon! Bella is by all reckoning a bright, sensible girl who loves her family. And yet she is willing, even eager, to toss everything aside, at age 18! to join the ranks of Edward and his family. It reminded me of “The Little Mermaid”, which is another story I’ve always hated because it has a woman giving up her home and family to be with a boy she has decided she loves because he’s cute!

Other issues: Alice’s insistence on throwing birthday and graduation parties for Bella, even though she is clearly uncomfortable with that. Is that what a friend does? For that matter, Bella’s reluctance to have any attention on her just seemed weird. Edward bribing Bella to marry him, even though she is 1) only 18, and 2) has some very good reasons for not wanting to marry so young.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish I had thought of this story and written it. Stephenie Meyer is clearly a gifted storyteller and hit a niche and will never want for anything the rest of her life. I enjoyed the books, as light entertainment, right up until Bella got pregnant in “Breaking Dawn”. After that I had to force myself to finish the book.

Have you read the series? What did you think of it? What is so great about Edward? I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me nor not. Just know that I won’t be changing my mind!

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4 responses to “Twlight Schmilight

  1. You hit on several things that bothered me, except some of them didn’t occur to me until the end, like why on earth WERE they in school? What a completely boring exercise that must have been for all of them!
    I also missed the whole love thing, because it seemed like most of the relationship centered on them arguing about being together, in whatever form.
    And I really hate the name Renesmee, which sounds like she only did it so they could nickname her Nessie and get the Loch Ness monster joke in. I did NOT see the imprinting happening, but yeah, it freaked me out too. It was like she only did that so everyone wouldn’t be so upset about Jacob – frankly I’d rather snuggle up next to a big warm furry wolf than a pretty piece of ice.

    All that being said, if I had read this book 30 years ago, when I was actually 17, I would have been falling all over myself to own all the books, would have read them all at once, and seen the movie 8 times. Even now I was struck by how much Bella reminded me of myself at that age – awkward, clumsy, unpopular – and the opportunity to transform into something completely different would have seemed like a godsend. Her move to Forks where she was suddenly sought-after mirrored my college experience. And I had no clue how to handle it. An Edward showing up then would have been the perfect solution. Of course, I never had a Jacob either.

    What I did like about the series was the gradual truce between the vampires and the shape-shifters. I think she could have made that happen without Jacob imprinting on Renesmee, but whatever.

    I did hate hate hate the whole pregnancy business, but maybe it was some kind of unconscious effort to keep all the teenagers from thinking that being pregnant was all fun and games.

    At any rate, I liked them, because I love mythology, even newly made-up ones, and she told it well. But I’m just as happy I didn’t spend the money and borrowed the books from the library. 🙂

    • I could definitely identify with Bella in a lot of ways, though she was far more mature than I, and cared much less about what people thought than I did at that age. I’m sure I would have lapped up Mike’s attention right away! Still, every time she described touching Edward’s cold skin I got the creeps – I agree I would rather snuggle next to a wolf, or a warm, human Jacob, than an icicle.

      I too liked how the relationship between the Cullens and the Quileute was handled. THAT, I was happy with how it wrapped up in the end. I didn’t really get why, suddenly at the end, they were “shape shifters” and not werewolves. I will continue to think of them as loveable werewolves.

      I like a good fantasy (Harry Potter, anyone?) but I think Stephenie created some additional challenges for herself by setting her story in the real world – she had to keep a lot more things real! The bulk of the HP story takes place at Hogwarts which is very much an alternate world. Stephenie has to deal with people like me who demand a good dose of reality along with the fantasy, whereas with JK I was pretty much willing to go wherever she wanted to take me.

      I am stuck owning the books because my friend made such a strong case for them that I thought I would want them for my own library. Turns out, I don’t. Not sure the best route to get rid of them.

  2. I haven’t read it — but I work with someone that had the most interesting reaction ….

    “The book was pretty good until Edward showed up”

    (Me — ummm isn’t Edward the one the book is all about)

    Haven’t spent my time on it yet and I may never

  3. BEST ROUTE to get rid of them???? Local Jr. High library.

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