when twilight came out, i knew several smart people whose minds i admired and had previously made good book recommendations to me who loved it. and told me i should read it.
i was sent the first two books and plowed through them (well, the first and half the second) rather painfully. this shit was terrible. i promptly quit and told my friends, and any other fans i came across, that this was some of the worst written literature i’d ever encountered and they were nuts for enjoying it.
things that bother(ed) me intensely, the first time around:
**note, they bothered me then and still bother me now
– bella as a character is phenomenally stupid and a poor example for women and girls everywhere. she goes from a complete self sacrificing blank page to driven insane by “love”. from a literary standpoint, her transformation from a practical, plain creature to one who takes great risks is rather unbelievable.
– edward and bella’s love is not charming, sweet, or remotely normal. it’s obsessive, unhealthy, and weird. you know what? in real life, people break up. it hurts and it sucks and life is crappy…for a while. the proper reaction is not go out on life threatening missions in order to hallucinate your lover’s voice telling you to be careful, because you can’t live without his “perfect voice”. the proper reaction is not to sink into a black hole. we are people outside of our relationships – every person is a valuable individual and the idea that you are literally lost and broken without someone else…that should not inspire “oh, they are soul mates, that makes sense”. that should inspire therapy. personally, the great majority of the edward/bella romance makes me roll my eyes and sort of gag – the bouncer will tell you, i need my fair share of mushy shit, i’m not unromantic – but this was way over the top.
so, i read the first two books maybe two years ago. since then, the movies have come out and the fandom has only grown and i encounter more and more twihards throughout normal life. i decided that i was going to reread the entire series, in order to be what i like to term “an informed hater”.
things that bother me (second time around):
– same things that bothered me the first time.
– now, it occurs to me that kids reading these think it’s romantic for your boyfriend to sneak into your room while your parents are sleeping and spend the night with you. let me tell you, males aged 15-30 have not developed the maturity and self control of edward cullen and they aren’t there to cuddle and listen to you talk in your sleep.
– as a matter of fact, let’s list all the things these books teach that i would personally never want my kids exposed to (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT):
– it’s ok to run away out of the country for three days without alerting your parents when your boyfriend is in danger
– don’t worry about developing friends or interests of your own, instead concentrate entirely on your boyfriend, or the boy who clearly wants to be your boyfriend that you keep along as your best friend
– once you find “true love”, it’s ok to forget entirely about school, college, a career, and your family, instead you should do anything possible to be with your boyfriend as much as possible
– it’s ok to get married and knocked up right out of high school.
bella, to me, is the worst example of what to teach to girls about the women they should become. i understand i can come across as shrewish in my criticisms – i’m not. i like love. i really like being in love. the bouncer and i have had issue after issue about his demonstrations and expression of love, usually me asking for more than what he might be willing or comfortable giving – i am far from cold. i like romance, affection, care, and attention. but, i like real, true romance, built on connection, time, trust, and sharing. i don’t like fairy tale bullshit – because life is not a fairy tale.
jacob, to a point, i understand. it probably sucks to be in love with your best friend and have her be in love with someone who’s your mortal enemy. poopy situation. however – bella should have realized the dangers of the situation a whole lot sooner, and gotten the hell out of there, and jacob turns into an absolute asshole – right around the time his wolfiness hits. um, guys? it’s at least a minor form of assault when a boy kisses you against your will. it’s not made ok by that fact that he misunderstood you pushing him away as “passion”. again, terrible lessons.
now, i did discover more things i really liked through my second reading.
the cullens are all extremely interesting and i loved hearing about the stories. the volturi were less interesting, but still, a good plot point.
the fourth book, breaking dawn, i actually enjoyed and found myself unable to set down. it was mostly wrapped up in the action of the story, and less wrapped up in bella and edward sitting around being desperately in love – or, taking many moments out of valid action to be desperately in love. the development of their daughter, the transformation of bella, and the gathering of the vampires to defend renesmee were all great storylines. i could have lived without the middle section from jacob’s perspective, although i understand why it was important to the storyline and why it was best to tell it from his point of view.
i also found bella and edward’s actions and feelings way more appropriate of a committed husband and wife as opposed to high school juniors that are boyfriend and girlfriend. i don’t believe it’s usually the best plan to make that jump so quickly, but hey, it happens, and sometimes it works, i get that.
somewhere in the mix, stephenie meyer also learned to write a bit better. she’s still not great or even all that good, but she got better through the process.
and now, i am informed, and have even found some redeeming qualities to the series – overall though, it’s still pretty bad – poorly written, unrealistic (from a character standpoint, not a plot standpoint – i understand that vampires and werewolves aren’t realistic, but you can still keep relationships and characters believable and relatable), and as coming of age novels, they set a terrible example for youth.