Thursday, June 18, 2009
weekly book review: twilight, by stephenie meyer
Yes, I did it. I read Twilight. I blame peer pressure.

If you happen to live under a rock (a nice rock, but a rock just the same) and have no idea what Twilight is about, then this is really all you need to know: Girl moves to a town filled with vampires, girl falls in love with vampire, vampire loves her back, girl falls down a lot, vampire glitters in the sun, girl wants to become a vampire, vampire says, "Oh, hell no!," girl pouts. It's essentially a romance novel but with no sex and vampires. And every teenage girl in America is OBSESSED with it.

Now, I could compose a thorough review of this teen phenom, however, I'm pretty well convinced that another review of this bloody book is the absolute LAST thing the world needs. Hence, here's some scattershot (and mostly snarky) thoughts instead:

  • Bella Swan (aka "girl") is positively ridiculous. Her name is ridiculous, her overplayed clumsiness is ridiculous, and her complete and utter disregard for her own safety is ridiculous. The very moment she meets Edward (aka "vampire") she's ready to die for him. There's never even a moment of uncertainty, really. She truly doesn't seem to care whether she lives or dies, and the number of times her life is in danger in this book is absurd. She can barely walk out of her house without risking a piano falling on her head. I guess that might be attractive to a predatory vampire, but pleeeeese.
  • Stephenie Meyer's writing is close to awful. I could almost see her struggle to use the word "literally" correctly. She sprinkles the beginning of her book with obvious and clunky references to Adam and Eve's apple, but then seems to forget about the allusion after fifty pages or so. She writes primarily in independent clauses, but when she wants to get fancy she'll connect them together with a semicolon. Hence, there are far too many semicolons. After seventy or so pages I managed to ignore the bad writing (perhaps it got better?), but it very nearly made me quit before I got too far.
  • Even though it's a vampire book, it makes a certain sort of sense that it was authored by a Mormon. The teens in this book have very little parental supervision, yet there's no sex, no booze, no drugs, no swearing, and no smoking. I don't even think there was any coffee.
  • It's a perfect book to read on the treadmill. Big font.
  • Sunlight, rather than hurting vampires, turns their skin to GLITTER. Twee!
  • Despite all of this, Twilight is addictive. However, it's addictive like MD 20/20 is addictive - it'll do in a pinch, but it will leave you with a fierce headache and wondering why you woke up on the railroad tracks wearing your pants on your head.

In short, do not let anyone tell you this is a good book. It is not. HOWEVER, its appeal is undeniable. I knew it was sort of awful, and yet I COULD NOT PUT THE BLOODY THING DOWN. Glittery vampires in love, yo! Pass the MD 20/20, 'cause I'm thinkin' 'bout getting New Moon hammered!

Stephenie Meyer
2005, 498 pages (Paperback)

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Blogger Carrie said...

My dear, I'm glad you now know what the attraction of Twilight is, almost a year after you recommended it to me. ;)

I've tried to analyze it, and I think that Edward is the big attraction in this book. Obviously. Even though he's a creepy stalker. Ms. Bella Swan annoys me for all the reasons she annoys you. (It's almost worse in the movie- the amount she stammers and stutters is beyond aggravating.) And while Stephanie Meyer is not a good writer, she somehow manages to make the most mudane domestic tasks sound exciting. Making lasagna is neato!

If you want to wait a week, I can bring you New Moon (and Breaking Dawn, but you're on your own for Eclipse. Got that out of the library.) and we can do a book exchange. For P&P&Zombies perhaps? Or do you have Hunger Games?

Blogger Bibliolatrist said...

Thank you for explaining the "glittery vampire" bit - I'd heard references, but didn't get it before now. Very...interesting.

Blogger Courtney said...

What is it about these books? I was fully aware that they are terrible and that Bella is annoying, but I devoured the things like chocolate ravioli. "Harry Potter" withdrawal, maybe? Anyway, I found Edward to be almost as irritating as Bella. It frightens me that teenage America does not realize that somebody who comes over to your house and stares at you while you sleep is CREEPY.

Blogger R. Louis Tessier said...

The only positive thing I can say about this series is that it made my daughter, a math/science geek who was never thrilled about reading before she discovered Edward and Bella, a voracious reader. She now think nothing about picking up BIG books (we won't discuss font size...) and giving it a go. Her MEAP scores have even gone from good to exceptional.

Better yet, and you'll get a kick out of this, she's moved on to yet another "wonderfully written" series for this summer. I "had" to buy her Dan Brown's "Angels and Demons" yesterday. Today, she's on page 150 and can't stop talking about it. OMG. Well, it ain't literature, but at least she's reading ...

Glug, glug, glug.

Blogger Mrs. White said...

Carrie, we can certainly work out a trade. Hunger Games and P&P&Z it is.

Bibliolatrist, you're welcome ;)

Courtney, you reminded me of something I forgot to mention in the review, and that's how creeeepy Edward is at times. The nighttime peeking and creeping, esp.

And BK, I definitely think Twilight is filling a Harry Potter void, and that's a good thing. Whatever gets kids reading is fine by me. It just becomes so evident after reading a Stephenie Meyer book that JK Rowling is a truly great crafter of stories and sentences. I miss her!

Blogger cornshake said...

a-ha! you finally succumbed! believe you me, i HATED myself for finishing this book--I mean, I teach students how to craft beautiful beautiful sentences for crying out loud. But if you ignore Meyer's writing, the story itself is utterly addictive. The idea of Edward falling for a girl like Bella (gag me on the name, too) is what my dreams were made of when i was in high school. both d and i are kicking ourselves that we forgot New Moon --methinks it would have been perfect here in Siesta Key. ps. did u see the movie??

Blogger Mrs. White said...

Cornshake, I watched about half of the movie, but then my husband came home and I was too embarrassed to continue. Although I'm sure I'll get around to the end. (Next time I'm home alone, that is. :)

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