August 16, 2008

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer

I was so close to putting this book down and never picking it up again - so close and yet I kept on reading for reasons that are not really that clear to me! I knew I wasn't enjoying it, I felt the writing was predictable, dishonest, boring and painful and the main characters made me want to turn into a vampire simply so that I would have the power to destroy them!

You're probably getting the picture - this is far from a favourite read.

I had been tossing up whether to read this one for a while - I had heard rumblings of Stephanie Meyer being compared to J.K. Rowling - please!!! There is no comparison in my mind. I am trying to work out why this book, and the others in the series, are such big sellers and to be honest, I'm a little concerned that so many adolescent girls are reading these books and possibly somehow modelling themselves on the main female character, Bella.

As I had written in my previous post - I had come to a conclusion as to why I not only disliked this book - but also why it worried me enough to keep reading. The premise of Twilight is that 17 year old Bella moves to a small town in the USA to live with her father. The usual teenage plot follows - Bella doesn't really fit in, misses her life with her mum blah, blah, blah - and then she meets Edward. Dashingly handsome, beautifully brilliant Edward. All of Bella's worries are eased - until she discovers he is actually a vampire and could potentially be a fatal attraction. The "relationship" between Bella and Edward forms my main gripe with this book. Throughout the novel we hear Bella fawning over Edward only to hear Edward throw back lines such as ; "Bella, You'll be the death of me, I swear you will" following a look or a touch or a romantic word from Bella. Edward constantly gives Bella the message that it is difficult for him to control himself around her and he could very possibly do something to hurt her simply because of how enticing she is to him. As a social worker who has worked with women who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault I find this message consistent with what some of these women have been led to believe by the perpetrator of the violence - "you asked for it" or "you made me do it". Now, I might be reading too much into this - but this is how reading this book made me feel - angry that a young woman (even a fictional one) was being made to feel as though she was the tempation that a man (even a vampire) could not resist and that any harm that may come her way was actually her fault - simply for being an attractive female.

Needless to say, I will not be reading the other books in this series.


Dina Roberts said...

I haven't read the book yet, but I find your interpretation very interesting...especially in terms of rape and/or domestic abuse.

Karen said...

Hi Dina - thanks for your comment. My interpretation of Twilight just felt really strong as I was reading it - not that I would have liked the book without that - the writing is really bad!!

Tamara said...

It scares me too, that young people have so many screwed up role models (real or otherwise). I doubt I'll be picking up this book in preference for reading material that uplifts, encourages and inspires. Well done for being clear about your feelings on this one.

Karen said...

Thanks Tamara - yep, definitely plenty of other better books out there I think.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I almost didn't finish Twilight either. I have, since, read all the others. I think that Stephenie Meyer has a great imagination and can create a good story with potential. Her writing, however, is predictable and full of cliches. It's as if she put every possible word onto the page and never looked back. Then her editor looked at it and said, "Ooh, sexy vampire. I love it" and never bothered to actually edit.

The last two books, I thought, were much better written. I actually enjoyed them. Still full of cliches and not stellar, but at least with a bit more character development and depth. Not much, but more than Twilight.

I honestly think that the hype around the books is what sunk them for many. If I had simply picked them up off a library shelf, I probably would have enjoyed them for what they are: fluffy romance reading. But, the hype has made them into the "best books ever written" and they're not! And the JK Rowling comparison is laughable. Not nearly as bad as the one I heard that said, "Edward and Bella are the new Darcy and Elizabeth." Talk about a travesty.

Karen said...

Thanks for this Holly - I hadn't heard the comparison with Darcy and Elizabeth before but I agree with you completely about that one!